Data processor Kalray steps onto world stage

France-based Kalray has signed a major contract with an unnamed NASDAQ-listed tech organization to develop and supply acceleration cards and support the customer’s development teams for their next-generation product. 

This card can deliver two million IOPS, with 12GB/sec bandwidth for both RoCE and NVMe/TCP, Kalray said. It adds latency of between 30μs for RoCE and 50μs for NVMe/TCP storage IO accesses. Kalray’s competition includes AMD-Xilinx (Pensando), Nvidia with BlueField, Fungible, Marvell, Intel, and others.

Eric Baissus, Kalray
Eric Baissus

Eric Baissus, Kalray CEO, said in a statement: ”The signing of this contract is a major milestone for Kalray. It is the result of nearly 18 months of in-depth evaluation by our customer of our technology, which has demonstrated its relevance compared to the most advanced alternatives in the industry, the quality of our teams … and of our ability, as a strategic partner company to offer the guarantees required to sign a contract of this magnitude with a major international player.” 

Internal testing showed that Kalray’s Massively Parallel Processing Array (MPPA) DPU was three to five times better than the competition, representing potential savings for the customer of several hundred million dollars over the life of the project. The customer is said to be a major high-tech player and generated several tens of billions of dollars in revenue in 2021, when it had a market capitalization of over $100 billion. Kalray says the contract has a commercial potential of several tens of millions of euros per year. 

Kalray K200 storage acceleration card
Kalray K200 storage acceleration card

The customer has already committed $1 million to Kalray to cover the various phases of its next-generation product, development of which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023. 

The second step will be for the customer to launch pre-series production of its new product. The third step will be volume production. 

Kalray MPPA
Kalray MPPA diagram

In July we learned that Kalray and Sanmina’s Viking Enterprise BU were jointly developing a FlashBox array, a JBOF disaggregated storage system using Viking’s VDS2249R chassis and Kalray’s MPPA-based K200-LP storage acceleration card. NASDAQ-listed Sanmina has a $3.91 billion market capitalization and its 2021 revenues were $6.76 billion; it’s not Kalray’s latest customer.

Kalray was founded in 2008 as a spin-off of CEA and two of its labs, Leti and List. CEA is France’s  Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique). Kalray investors include Alliance Venture (Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi), Safran, NXP Semiconductors, CEA, and Bpifrance.