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Kaleao Comes to Hyperconverged Space With ARM-Based Systems

By Jeffrey Burt (Send Email)
Posted October 3, 2016


A startup server vendor is looking to make a push into the competitive hyperconverged infrastructure space with offerings that are powered by ARM-based chips and come with a new way of deploying and managing virtual machines.

Officials with UK-based Kaleao on Oct. 3 introduced KMAX, an architecture that, like other hyperconverged offerings, tightly integrates compute, storage, networking, virtualization and management software into a single unit that can be quickly introduced into the data center environment and more easily run than traditional setups.

It also offers a method that they said enables users to use Kaleao's software to moves virtual machines (VMs) closer to physical resources in the infrastructure, reducing the latency and enabling greater density, scalability and efficiencies than what is found in environments that use traditional hypervisors.

"We are bringing to the market a fully fledged hyperconverged solution," Giovanbattista Mattiussi, principal marketing manager at Kaleao, told eWEEK. "This hyperconverged architecture is what is fundamentally unique."

According to Mattiussi and Greg Nicoloso, general manager and chief marketing officer at Kaleao, the company's architecture—due in part to the use of ARM chips and what they call "microvisors" rather than hypervisors—brings significant improvements over competing hyperconverged offerings. In the area of density, the Kaleao system enables 10 times the performance in the same space, while at less than 15 watts per server, the KMAX is four times more efficient, they said. It also reduces capital expenditures by three to five times.

The company is aiming KMAX at a broad array of markets, from public and private clouds to enterprises, content delivery networks, and hyperscale and high-performance computing (HPC) environments.

The introduction of KMAX comes at a time when the converged and hyperconverged infrastructure markets are growing quickly. Organizations wrestling with such trends as mobility, data analytics, the cloud, and the proliferation of mobile and connected devices are looking to make their increasingly complex data centers simpler and easier to manage while still being able to more quickly create and deploy services and products.

Converged infrastructures bring the compute, storage, networking and virtualization software into a single solution. Hyperconverged systems take it a step further, tightly integrating the server and storage aspects into a single entity. According market research firm IDC, the hyperconverged segment is the fastest-growing one in the converged infrastructure market. In the second quarter, revenue in the hyperconverged segment increased 137.5 percent, to $480.6 million, IDC analysts said. They expect the hyperconverged market to grow from $981.91 million last year to more than $4.7 billion by 2019. Gartner analysts expect the space to reach $2 billion this year, and almost $5 billion by 2019.

It's a crowded market, with most system OEMs rolling out converged infrastructure offerings in partnership with other companies, including such software makers as Nutanix, Pivot3 and SimpliVity.

Kaleao officials are hoping the company's unique architecture will enable it to carve some space for the company in the market. Using low-power ARM chips is a differentiator in a space where most solutions are building on Intel processors. Mattiussi said. ARM chips give Kaleao a more open platform to work with, and the company will offer OpenStack and Ubuntu Linux with its solutions.

In addition, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer John Goodacre also serves as director of technology and systems at ARM.

"There's a lot of curiosity about the fact that we are ARM-based," Nicoloso said.

In addition, Kaleao is going without a traditional hypervisor, which Mattiussi said adds too much latency to the equation. Instead, the KMAX platform uses what officials call "physicalized" hardware that is assigned directly to the VMs, with the microvisors dynamically creating pools of software-defined and hardware-accelerated resources.

The KMAX systems can scale to 1,536 CPU cores, 370TB of all flash store and 960Gb/s in a 3U (5.25-inch) form factor, with each eight-core server with 10Gb/s interconnect consuming less than 15 watts. The company uses ARM's big.Little design, with compute units holding four Cortex-A57 processors and four smaller Cortex-A53 chips.

The solution will be available in a Server Edition, which includes Kaleao hardware and software that create a converged offering, and an Appliance Edition that is a hyperconverged platform. The company this week is launching an early adopter program, and the systems will be generally available in January 2017.

Kaleao, with about 30 employees, is headquartered in Cambridge in the UK, with U.S. operations in Charlotte, N.C. The company is getting some interest, according to Nicoloso, who said that Kaleao has about 800 prospects and about 50 active negotiations. About 90 percent of the company's revenues come out of the United States, but Kaleao is looking to expand its reach internationally.

Originally published on eWeek.
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