Computational storage startup Pliops launches flagship product

The Pliops eXtreme Data Processor moves your app to flash storage to process data where it resides rather than load it into memory.

Data center corridor of servers with abstract overlay of digital connections.
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A startup called Pliops has emerged from stealth mode with a new way to do data processing. Rather than load data into main memory as is traditionally done, the Pliops technology offloads data and the application to a PCI Express card, and data is processed where it is stored, thus freeing up the CPU for other tasks.

It's called computational storage. The concept has been around for a while, but like so many technological ideas, it was ahead of its time. The technology needed to catch up to the concept. It could never be done with mechanical hard drives, and SSDs, too, needed to make gains. Recently, Samsung and Xilinx partnered to deliver a compute-on-storage SSD device that uses a Xilinx FPGA to offload the processing work.

Pliops has been around since 2017. It finally launched its flagship product, the Pliops XDP, which stands for eXtreme Data Processor.

"Just as GPUs overcome processing inefficiencies to accelerate AI and analytics performance, the breakthrough Pliops Extreme Data Processor (XDP) overcomes storage inefficiencies to massively accelerate performance and dramatically lower infrastructure costs for today’s applications," reads the Pliops website.

Whereas the Samsung/Xilinx product is a SSD with some compute and DRAM on it for processing in place, the Pliops card is essentially a modern RAID controller for all-flash storage. The XDP is a specially designed, low-profile accelerator that sits between NVMe SSDs and data-requesting applications.

The card actually takes the applications running on the system and moves them directly to storage, where processing is done. This reduces or eliminates the load on the CPU. Pliops claims up to 80% reduction in stress on the CPU, freeing up performance for other tasks.

The company's website states: "XDP’s ultra-fast hardware-based storage engine leverages breakthrough data structures and algorithms to deliver the performance equivalent of hundreds of Intel Xeon Gold cores of common data processing and storage management functions. This eliminates bottlenecks, reduces latency, and greatly increases workload scaling of your existing infrastructure footprint."

Pliops claims says the XDP card can provide overall 10x performance gains for databases, analytics, and AI/ML work. Because it requires fewer servers to do more application work, Pliops estimates the XDP can provide an up to 5x cost savings on data center infrastructure, meaning less hardware is needed to do the same task as without the XDP.

Big claims, right? We've heard them before. But consider this: Intel and Nvidia were behind a $65 million round of funding for the company last February. If those two support Pliops, there must be something to it.

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