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Kaminario looks forward to NVMf, but not this year

All-flash maker Kaminario plans to add NVMe drives, but only when it can replace existing fabric protocols with NVMf and a full stack of advanced storage features

All-flash pioneer Kaminario plans to be the first to market with an array equipped with non-volatile memory express over fabrics (NVMf) and advanced storage features.

That’s according to founder and CEO Dani Golan, who said non-volatile memory express (NVMe) could be added to Kaminario arrays now but only in the controller node, and therefore not as part of its shared flash pool.

For that, NVMf will be be required as an internal interconnect, and Kaminario intends on this coming with full storage features such as thin provisioning, inline data deduplication and compression, “but not in 2017”, said Golan.

Kaminario arrays currently provide block access, such as Fibre Channel and internet small computer system interface (iSCSI), to hosts with serial ATA (SATA) or serial attached SCSI (SAS) connection to drives, and Infiniband as a K-Block interconnect.

All of those connections would be replaced by NVMf, said Golan.

“Any connection with SCSI in its stack is wrong for flash,” said Golan. “SATA, SAS, Infiniband, Fibre Channel and iSCSI will be replaced by NVMf.”

“Putting NVMe solid-state drive [SSD] in the compute side, as many competitors have, doesn’t bring any value. You need NVMf to put it in shared storage, and, because we inherently separate compute from capacity, we are in a great position to do that.”

Read more about NVMe

  • NVMe over fabrics takes the built-for-flash advantages of the PCIe-based protocol, and allows NVMe to be sent via Fibre Channel, Ethernet and Infiniband networks.
  • NVMe brings blistering performance gains over existing HDD-era disk protocols, and is a straight swap-in for PCIe server-side flash with array and hyper-converged products on the way.

NVMe is a peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) protocol developed for flash storage that promises significant storage latency reductions and increases in throughput, largely by being able to handle a huge increase in the number of queues and of queue depth compared to the SAS and SATA spinning disk-era protocols.

Physically, NVMe hardware is compatible with PCIe slots. However, use with a storage controller, as found in most storage array products, will introduce a bottleneck to the input/output (I/O) path – something that NVMe was designed to remove.

So, to exploit NVMe in shared storage NVMf will be required as a transport that eliminates legacy protocols such as SAS, SATA and SCSI that must be translated in the controller.

Kaminario’s K2 architecture comprises K-Block nodes that include active-active dual controllers and between one and four drive shelves that accommodate 24 flash drives each.

That translates to 4U to 26U and drive types available are multi level cell (MLC) and/or triple level cell (TLC).

Kaminario uses commodity hardware and its Vision OS operating system to build its all-flash product. It spreads writes around and has a write-buffer to prevent hotspots. It claims a seven-year flash lifespan.

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