Briefing Note: Kaminario Delivers Encryption, Poised for 2015 Growth

Kaminario K2 Flash Arrays have traditionally appealed to the high performance demands of the data center. Their systems, for example, seem to be consistently near the top of SPC1 and SPC2 benchmarks; and don’t forget that their first storage systems were DRAM only. But Kaminario has been on a steady path to the more mainstream data center, especially in 2014, by adding data efficiency features, new scaling capabilities and most recently encryption.

Scale-Up or Scale-Out – Yes

One of the biggest challenges for data centers considering an all-flash array is deciding if they should select a system that is scale-up or scale-out. Typically, scale-up systems offer a lower entry point, while scale-out offers better growth potential, especially in terms of capacity. As we covered in our briefing note back in June, Kaminario addressed this with an architecture that can start at one node (scale-up) but can then add nodes as more capacity and performance are needed.

Encryption – Yes You Need it

More recently Kaminario announced that its systems now include an always-on encryption feature for data at rest. Also, since Kaminario’s K2 architecture supports non-disruptive software and hardware upgrades, the feature can be added without downtime or data loss.

Encryption is critical for flash systems in particular because of the way that controllers manage flash. When NAND flash cell wears out the flash controller, as it should, it marks that cell as read-only. The problem is that erasing a flash cell requires that null data be written to it. But how do you do that if the flash controller had previously marked the cell as read-only? If you can’t erase the data, but you can read it, then some enterprising data thief may be able to get to your data.

Some vendors have special utilities that they claim will override this setting to make sure the erasure can be done. But I have yet to see any guarantee that this is the case. The ONLY safe way to repurpose a flash system is to make sure that all data is encrypted on it and then change the key prior to changing ownership.

The fact that Kaminario can provide this encryption with little to no performance impact makes the use of encryption a no-brainer.

StorageSwiss Take

Kaminario is poised for growth. Their K2 All-Flash array provides the mainstream features that enterprises need while maintaining the performance for those applications that truly need it. They do all this for an effective price of $2 per GB, something that should catch everyone’s attention. Finally, Kaminario just received another $53 million in funding, money that should enable further growth and development.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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