Kaminario: An All-Flash Startup Poaching The Industry’s Best Storage Executives

BLOG: Pure Storage suffers brain drain as Kaminario looks to bolster 2016 channel sales with crack team of executives

Kaminario, the all-flash enterprise storage array startup that started selling in 2010, has been causing a bit of a ruckus in the flash storage scene lately.

Last year saw the Massachusetts-based firm, which flogs an all-flash product called K2, tempt a number of high profile competitor executives to switch sides.

In August, Kaminario pinched Pure Storage’s Fiona Moon for an EMEA marketing director role. Another August hire saw Vince Blackall join from Pure Storage, to head up EMEA channel operations. September saw Commtech UK boss Mark Walker join Kaminario as the firm’s UK and Ireland channel director.

But Kaminario has some tough competition. It’s going after the likes of Dell, EMC, IBM, Solidfire, Pure Storage, and Violin Memory to just name a few.

Kaminario market share

According to Gartner, Kaminario grew its flash market share to 4 percent from 2014 to 2015, behind Pure Storage’s 7 percent to 12 percent market share growth.

kaminarioWhilst Kaminario isn’t on the top rung of the all-flash array vendor ladder just yet, it’s making all the right moves to get near the top.

Fiery Kaminario seems not afraid. Outspoken CTO Shacar Fienblit publicly lambasted Pure Storage’s new FlashArray//m offerings last June. “These two items are a good natural progression of Pure Storage’s strategy, but they are nothing new, and they are not game changers in the value the company brings to the market,” Fienblit said.

But what’s with the hiring spree? Surely it’s about having a great, successful product, rather than who’s working for you. This year has to be one where Kaminario proves to customers and the channel why its products are better. TechWeekEurope quizzed Kaminario EMEA VP Mick Bradley, who himself only joined Kaminario in November from Violin Memory, on the appointments.

“Of course it is absolutely all about the product,” he said. “Without the product, we would struggle to attract such a talented team.”

The next twelve months will be pivotal for Kaminario, and Bradley alluded to more high-profile hires in the pipeline.

Kaminario’s Mick Bradley

“We are building a really strong team in EMEA to spread the word about Kaminario in 2016. I joined back in November because I wanted to be part of a company that has the vision and technology to accelerate the transition to all-flash and help make a real difference” Bradley said.

“I have no doubt that while Kaminario remains one of the most innovative players in the market, the company will continue to attract top leaders.”

Innovation is key here. Customers are still working out exactly what they want from all-flash, and with the likes of Kaminario able to move faster than bigwigs such as EMC, there’s no time like the present. Bradley said that all-flash is a storage solution the enterprise “desperately need”, now that it is no longer a niche product.

“For businesses considering storage, it is becoming less of a question of deciding between flash and disk but rather choosing which flash vendor to go with,” he said.

“So what differentiates us from the rest of the mob? A lot of products can scale up, but K2 scales out effectively too.”

According to Bradley, Kaminario is breaking the traditional rules of storage by giving customers both flexibility and price: “You can easily see why we are filled with optimism when it comes to growth in 2016.”

Unfortunately, Pure Storage didn’t want to provide comment about its rivalry with Kaminario, despite in the past being openly brash against EMC, which itself is equally as bullish about Pure Storage.

EMC alleges Pure Storage exaggerated growth ahead of its October 2015 flotation and sent out a pre-IPO email that cast doubts on Pure’s life as a public company – surely a signal that EMC is scared of these all-flash startup go-getters.

But the trash talk on Kaminario is far few and far between. TechWeekEurope suspects it will start in due course, however.

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