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Pliant's SSDs are awesome, says Pliant

You said. So?

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Solid state drive startup Pliant has announced a benchmark saying its SSDs rock - as it said back in September. Why is it bothering to tell us?

The benchmark is from an independent tester, Oakgate Technology, but it was presumably paid for by Pliant. It claims 16 Pliant 300GB LS 300S SSDS delivered 1.1 million IOPS "with a read/write ratio of 80 per cent to 20 per cent in 4KB blocks. The...lightning drive is capable of reaching 2.3 million IOPS and higher, based on 100 per cent reads in 512B blocks." The product also sustained these performance levels over time.

That's no real surprise here as the September announcement of the LS product said one could deliver 180,000 sustained IOPS. Multiply that by 16, and you get 2,880,000 IOPS which is 500,000 more than the 2.3 million predicted by Oakgate. It's still a huge number, though, and OakGate is stressing that it tried to emulate real world conditions.

Pliant isn't saying how much product it has shipped and who it has shipped to, but the company claims it is actually shipping product.

However, Pillar Data and 3PAR have recently signed up for STEC's Mach8IOPS SSDs with its SATA interface, both of them stressing its cost-effectiveness. Pliant is perhaps finding that its SAS interface product faces a slower adoption curve than it hoped for.

Three months after Pliant first announced its products it said it had received $27.3m in a third round of funding, having pulled in $23m in two previous funding rounds since it was founded in 2007. Something between the September product announcement and January persuaded venture capitalists to shell out a lot of extra cash. What was that?

It could be a Dell endorsement and OEM deal for Pliant as there is a coming 150GB SAS SSD for Dell's MD1220 PowerVault storage box, Pliant making a 150GB, SAS SSD. This is said by Dell to be available this quarter. Checking on Dell's MD1220 configurator page, it's not ready yet, giving Dell two weeks to have it available if it keeps to its Q1 timetable.

Pliant has not said what the extra $23m will be used for but product development seems a fair bet, along with sales and marketing resource expansion. The benchmark data will be used to help convince potential OEM licensees and distributor customers that the products do what they say on the tin and that sticking them in SAS arrays as a tier of very hot drives will be worth the expense.

The signs are that Pliant will soon announce one or more OEM deals and maybe a product development roadmap. Watch this space. ®

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