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Kaleao redesigns ARM-based HCI for enterprise

Kaleao hit an obstacle when trying to convince its ARM-based hyper-converged systems fit well with traditional enterprises. While its features and services might fit enterprises, the original Kaleao box was a terrible fit.

So Kaleao is adding a 4U KMAX-EP system to go with its original KMAX, which is now called KMAX-HD (high density). The redesign is aimed at bringing the startup into more enterprise deals.

U.K.-based Kaleao aimed its KMAX systems at hyperscalers and cloud providers when it launched in early 2017. Those customers didn’t need KMAX to fit into traditional data center racks and “don’t care how many wires run into and out of the box,” said Kaleao chief scientific officer John Goodacre.

“We’re finding that we fit in the enterprise, but it is taking more effort to plug into an enterprise than to plug into a hyperscalers’ data center,” Goodacre said.

Goodacre said Kaleao has “a few customers, not in the hundreds.” The potential audience is much larger for enterprises, and there is also a hunger for hyper-convergence in the enterprise now. But Goodacre said those cutomers want to put their hyper-converged appliances in their traditional server racks.

The KMAX-EP and KMAX-HD each hold 192 eight-core processor sockets and 48 solid-state drives (up to 370 TB of flash), and up to 960 Gigabits per second of Ethernet networking attached. Both use low-power ARM processing. But Kaleao is counting on enterprises finding the 4U chassis and the new design a better fit in their space than the 3U KMAX-HD.

“This is for people who want to replace 20 Dell servers with one of these, but it [KMAX-HDI] doesn’t quite fit as well into their cabinets,” Goodacre said. “The data center and machine rooms for cloud providers and hyperscalers aren’t exactly what you see in enterprises. You probably share the cabinet that you put your KMAX into. Hyperscalers are buying cabinets just for their system.”

With the new hardware design, Kaleao is also now selling both form factors in Server and Appliance versions. The original KMAX was a Server Edition, built on an open-source Linux platform for ARM-based application development and deployment. In the Appliance version, the hardware is managed by OpenStack software and Kaleao’s microsever-based small footprint hypervisor called a Microvisor.