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Kaminario storage jettisons hardware for software-only cloud model

Kaminario is the latest vendor to deemphasize hardware in favor of a solely software-defined approach.

Under its new strategy, customers will buy Kaminario storage as a reference stack from global reseller TechData Corp., which will integrate the software on standard appliances. The companies inked a distribution deal in January.

Kaminario on Wednesday released the first product under the new software-only model: Kaminario Cloud Fabric, a usage-based utility aimed at midsized IT services providers.  Cloud Fabric licenses customers to access composable infrastructure on demand with all-flash K2 storage arrays, the Kaminario flagship.

Prior to the deal with TechData, Kaminario relied on contract manufacturers to build K2 all-flash systems, but it owned the hardware inventory and associated financial and forecasting risk.

TechData will capture hardware revenue, while Kaminario storage revenue going forward will be solely from software licenses. Josh Epstein, Kaminario’s chief marketing officer, said TechData will handle asset tracking and inventory.

“All of our IP historically has been in software. We don’t do custom hardware engineering. To date, we have shipped our arrays as a fully integrated appliance, but we are moving to a software-only operational model. This move positions us for better operational and financing efficiency, and we’ll pass those efficiencies on to our customers,” Epstein said.

Amazon, Facebook, Google and other hyper-scale cloud data centers run on infrastructure built with proprietary hardware stacks from white-box servers. Epstein said Kaminario Cloud Fabric gives midrange service providers a similar advantage.

Kaminario Cloud Fabric is an enterprise-wide software utility licensed per consumed storage, regardless of where users are located. The goal is to qualify Kaminario storage with general purpose servers. K2 all-flash arrays to date have exclusively used Supermicro enclosures and SAS SSDs.

Epstein said many of Kaminario’s larger storage customers want to buy IT as a service. He said cloud and SaaS customers account for roughly 85% of Kaminario’s business.

“They want to move to a hyper-scale environment, but there is a lot of risk associated with vendor lock-in, regulatory concerns and overall pricing. We want to help them mitigate that risk.”

The Cloud Fabric license incorporates the standard Kaminario storage software stack, including the VisionOS operating system and Kaminario Clarity analytics and monitoring. Integration of Kaminario Flex automation and orchestration will be added upon general availability later this year.

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