Kaminario swallows $15m – ONE MONTH after last cash gulp

Upstarts get fatter but there's only room for so many


Comment Not content with raising $53m in a E-round of funding at the end of November, flash array performance king Kaminario raised another $15m at the end of December.

The startup’s K2 all-flash array business has now raised a total of $143m, getting close to Solidfire’s $150m but a long way behind Pure Storage’s $470m.

King K got the extra cash, it says, because investors were clamouring to pump in more money to the already over-subscribed round. How nice to be one of the girls at the prom that everybody and their brother wants to dance with.

Founder and CEO Dani Golan had a prepared remark for the news: “We’re both humbled and invigorated by how far we’ve come and will continue working to achieve our mission of making flash storage accessible, affordable and beneficial for every enterprise.”

You've got to be humble at the top these days – boasting nicely, so to speak.

In that vein, it says it more than doubled booking in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the third, “with the majority of customers choosing to expand their implementations following initial purchase.”

The firm says it increased its headcount by 25 per cent quarter-over-quarter since launching the gen 5 K2 in May last year, “ a rate that will continue through 2015.” It plans to enter another five regions in Europe this year.

One of the E-round funders, Brian Abrams, a partner at US-based hedge fund Lazarus, said: “More companies than ever are looking to implement flash in their data centres … This funding round strongly positions Kaminario to capitalise on its recent progress and grow exponentially in the months and years ahead.”

This all-flash array business has so many players now with no-one giving up, although Skyera has been bought by Western Digital. Who’s who in the AFA Hunger Games now?

  • Cisco with its acquired startup Invicta (Whiptail) arrays currently in hibernation - but it could do something
  • Dell with all-flash Compellents and modified legacy disk software
  • EMC with acquired startup XtremIO; forecasting a billion dollar run rate for this flash box in 2015, plus all-flash VMAX/VNX
  • HDS with flash accelerator inside VSP array
  • HGST with acquired Skyera array tech
  • HP with all flash 3PAR
  • IBM with acquired and high sales rate FlashSystem plus added SVC for data management software
  • Kaminario, needing, we think, to add lower-cost, lower performance down-range products
  • NetApp with a trio of products; all-flash EF series for fast and simple, All-flash ONTAP for fast and mature data management services, and developing all-new hardware/software FlashRay expected to get a second controller plus more software this year
  • Pure Storage with bold, confident marketing, and a product set anticipated to expand this year
  • Solidfire with twin service provider and enterprise markets in its focus and scale-out design with good quality of service
  • Tegile with AFA version of its hybrid array
  • Violin Memory with rounded-out product range and re-invigorated management looking to grow, grow, grow

Thirteen vendors. Is it going to be unlucky for some?

Actually there are a couple more. We have six mainstreamers: Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp, with large customer bases and channels to market. There are four startups left standing, more than standing in Pure and Solidfire’s case, standing tall in Kaminario’s, and leaving the walking wounded behind in Violin’s case.

Then there are three wannabes: Cisco with Invicta (come on Cisco, what the heck are you playing at here?); HGST with Skyera; and Tegile looking for some snappy sideways expansion from its hybrid array base.

Two extras sneak in at the end: Fujitsu has an all-flash Eternus DX200F which should do well enough in its customer base, and Nimbus Data with its Gemini arrays.

That’s fifteen AFA hopefuls. It’s too many, too many by far. Just having a faster-than-disk SAN array won’t cut it for the startups. They have to have great data management software and, if they can, take advantage of new server/storage trends such as converging storage and servers into converged and integrated systems with a scale-out architecture.

Slower and cheaper TLC flash is coming along this year and, maybe, that will enable different enterprise flash use cases like very fast-access archiving.

There are lots of interesting possibilities and questions.

For example, what is HGST going to do with Skyera? Produce a better AFA mousetrap? Somehow sell systems direct to hyperscale customers, with whom it has no track record at the system level? Combine Skyera tech with its object storage array? A TLC-based cold flash archive?

If the four startups (Kaminario, Pure, Solidfire and Violin) can make faster progress growing their business than one or more of the incumbent mainstreamers this year then that might prompt acquisition or partnering activity next year … by …. an incumbent without its own ground-up designed AFA.

It’s all-flash array musical chairs time, with 15 players dancing around for our business and the music is in full swing. When it stops, a chair is going to be taken away and a supplier will stumble. Who will it be?

Then we rinse and repeat, so to speak, because no way can the 15 current AFA players all grow and prosper for the next five years. No way, Jose. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Apple's latest security feature could literally save lives
    Cupertino is so sure of Lockdown Mode it's offering $2m to bug hunters to break it

    Apple's latest security feature won't be used by most of its customers, but those who need Lockdown Mode could find it to be a literal life saver.

    The functionality, coming with iOS/iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, dramatically shrinks an iDevice's attack surface by disabling many of its features. It's designed to protect the small number of Apple users who, "because of who they are or what they do, may be personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from NSO Group and other private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware," Apple said in a statement. 

    Lockdown, thus, effectively reduces the number of potential vulnerabilities spyware could exploit to compromise a device, cutting the possible routes into surveillance targets' kit.

    Continue reading
  • Has Intel gone too far with its Ohio fab 'delay' stunt?
    With construction unceremoniously underway, x86 giant may have overplayed its hand

    COMMENT The way Intel has been talking about the status of its $20 billion Ohio fab project, you would be forgiven if you assumed that construction on the Midwest mega-site has been delayed in light of Congress struggling to pass a large subsidies package that would support new American chip factories.

    When Intel delayed a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ohio manufacturing site two weeks ago out of frustration over the subsidies inaction, some headlines may have given you the impression the semiconductor giant was putting off construction entirely.

    However, an Intel spokesperson made it clear to The Register and others at the time that the start date for construction had not changed.

    Continue reading
  • Hive ransomware gang rapidly evolves with complex encryption, Rust code
    RaaS malware devs have been busy bees

    The Hive group, which has become one of the most prolific ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operators, has significantly overhauled its malware, including migrating the code to the Rust programming language and using a more complex file encryption process.

    Researchers at the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) uncovered the Hive variant while analyzing a change in the group's methods.

    "With its latest variant carrying several major upgrades, Hive also proves it's one of the fastest evolving ransomware families, exemplifying the continuously changing ransomware ecosystem," the researchers said in a write-up this week.

    Continue reading
  • What do you mean your exaflop is better than mine?
    Gaming the system was fine for a while, now it's time to get precise about precision

    Comment A multi-exaflop supercomputer the size of your mini-fridge? Sure, but read the fine print and you may discover those performance figures have been a bit … stretched.

    As more chipmakers bake support for 8-bit floating point (FP8) math into next-gen silicon, we can expect an era of increasingly wild AI performance claims that differ dramatically from the standard way of measuring large system performance, using double-precision 64-bit floating point or FP64.

    When vendors shout about exascale performance, be aware that some will use FP8 and some FP64, and it's important to know which is being used as a metric. A computer system that can achieve (say) 200 peta-FLOPS of FP64 is a much more powerful beast than a system capable of 200 peta-FLOPS at just FP8.

    Continue reading
  • Meta's AI translation breaks 200 language barrier
    Open source model improves translation of rarer spoken languages by 70%

    Meta's quest to translate underserved languages is marking its first victory with the open source release of a language model able to decipher 202 languages.

    Named after Meta's No Language Left Behind initiative and dubbed NLLB-200, the model is the first able to translate so many languages, according to its makers, all with the goal to improve translation for languages overlooked by similar projects. 

    "The vast majority of improvements made in machine translation in the last decades have been for high-resource languages," Meta researchers wrote in a paper [PDF]. "While machine translation continues to grow, the fruits it bears are unevenly distributed," they said. 

    Continue reading
  • Tracking cookies found in more than half of G20 government websites
    Sorry, conspiracy theorists, it's more likely sloppy webdev work rather than spying

    We expect a certain amount of cookie-based tracking on retail websites and social networks, but in some countries up to 90 percent of government sites have implemented trackers – and serve them seemingly without user consent. 

    A study evaluated more than 118,000 URLs of 5,500 government websites – think .gov, .gov.uk. .gov.au, .gc.ca, etc – hosted in the twenty largest global economies – the G20 – and discovered a surprising tracking cookie problem, even among countries party to Europe's GDPR and those who have their own data privacy regulations.

    On average, the study found, more than half of cookies created on G20 government websites were third-party cookies, meaning they were created by outside entities typically to collect information on the user. At least 10 percent, going up to 90 percent, come from known third party cookies or trackers, we're told.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022