is now SanDisk Enterprise Storage Solutions
Pliant Technology is developing Enterprise Flash Drives
(EFDs), a new class of solid state storage devices that
into enterprise information systems (which StorageSearch.com calls "legacy
SSD architecture" - editor's note) and dramatically improve performance,
Delivering breakthrough improvements over today's highest performing
hard drive and
SSD storage solutions for a
range of data I/O intensive enterprise applications, Pliant's solution is
expected to be available to OEM and datacenter customers in the fourth quarter
of 2008. The
company was founded by a team of successful storage executives and engineers
from Fujitsu, IBM, Maxtor, Quantum, and Seagate. Pliant is based in Milpitas,
Calif. More information is available at www.plianttechnology.com.
Technology - editor mentions on STORAGEsearch.com
- editor's comments:- April 2011 - Pliant
entered the SSD market in
with a family of small form factor enterprise SAS SSDs using its own
controller design. Pliant's route to market is via 3rd party oems who embed its
SSDs into their systems.
Nowadays any competent storage oem can design
its own SAS SSD using a variety of off the shelf
controllers and interface IP. That puts pressure
on companies like Pliant and STEC to ensure their products maintain a
performance and reliability edge.
As I see it Pliant's current business
model is not sustainable as it has a very narrow channel into the enterprise
SSD market which can easily be choked off by slot substitution. I'm sure that
one escape route out of that trap will be to join the runaway PCIe SSD market.
Another route may be to market integrated storage systems.
2011 - Pliant announced the retirement of its founding CEO and the
appointment of Richard Wilmer .
The SSD market has changed substantially since Pliant's original
business plans were formed. The company has proved they can make a fast
controller that works. But the SAS market is not the real future for very high
performance SSDs. As I see it the challenge for the new CEO is to fugure out
other attractive ways to leverage Pliant's technology assets and communicating
better with the ultimate customers of their products.
already market SAS SSDs or have said they will soon do so. So it looks like
a small cozy niche. But if revenue in that segment picks up any one of more
than 200 or so
flash SSD oems
could easily produce a fast SAS SSD within 3 months using a bridge chip and
making it look more look like the
SATA SSD market.
Pliant competes head to head for design sockets with the long
established 2.5" SAS SSD leader
STEC. But looking at the
wider picture - Pliant's ideal customers compete with well established
PCIe SSDs (within the
acceleration market) and
in the SAN and
NAS acceleration markets.
In March 2009 - Pliant
Technology's VP of Marketing, Greg Goelz shared his
SSD Bookmarks in
the opening episode of StorageSearch.com's new
March 2009 - Pliant
Technology announced it has received
$15 million in
Series C funding. This will be used as working capital to support volume
production of its SAS
compatible flash SSDs.
In September 2009 -
started sampling its
family of 2.5"
(150GB) and 3.5"
flash SAS SSDs.
The SLC drives deliver R/W rates upto 525/340MB/s and 160,000 IOPS (for a 90%
R, 10% W mix).
The realistically addressable
market for native SAS SSDs
in disk form factors looks a lot smaller today than 3 years ago when Pliant was
founded. That's because SAS SSD opportunities have been shunted aside by
PCIe SSDs and squeezed
from below by fast SATA
The result has been that SSD vendors have been reluctant to
enter this part of market. But the good news for the handful of companies
actually shipping such products is they don't have to worry about dozens of
competitors going for every design slot. That means higher margins for the
In March 2010 -
benchmark results to illustrate the capability of its
3.5" SAS SSDs
when used in arrays. The measurements performed and validated by
OakGate Technology were performed on an
array of 16 SSDs and are summarized in a
April 2010 - Pliant
the appointment of Frank Kull as
VP of operations. He brings more than 15 years of experience in operations
management for Google, Cisco Systems and other leading technology companies.
Avere Systems and
were 2 of 5 companies named in an 8 page report published by
Cool Vendors in
Storage Technologies, 2010 ($495).
STEC found homes in the
SAS SSD sockets of a
launched by Nimbus
Data Systems this month. Instead Nimbus designed its own - because it's
easy to do - and
In August 2010 -
the appointment of Mark
Delsman as VP of engineering. Prior to joining Pliant, Delsman was VP
of software engineering for Dot
In September 2010 - Pliant Technology
is sampling MLC
versions of its 2.5" SAS SSD family with upto 400GB capacity and >10K
comments:- new dynasty SSD
maker Fusion-io has
successfully demonstrated that there is a healthy market appetite for MLC SSDs
in some "enterprise
apps". How many is "some"? Enough to make a
VC wake up in your
2.5" SSD makers
are taking the opposite route to Pliant in that the majority started with
consumer grade (MLC) SSD products with
SATA interfaces and
are busily reworking their products to add
SAS (spelt $A$) so
they can charge higher prices.
Pliant - on the other hand - made a
conservative choice by launching only SLC SSDs when it started sampling its 1st
SSDs 12 months ago. Will Pliant add
SATA SSDs to its line
up too? - Unlikely it could survive in that fiercely competitive market. But
if the company is still around in another 12 months - I wouldn't be surprised
to see them extend their range with a
PCIe SSD. Because you
have to give enterprise customers what they want. Even if the market appears
what it wants. If the money is there you have to pay attention.
|Editor:- May 16, 2011 - SanDisk announced a
agreement to acquire Pliant Technology
for approximately $327 million.|
Editor's comments:- I had some
time ago made these strong comments in the profile pages of the respective
"As I see it Pliant's current business model is not
sustainable as it has a very narrow channel into the enterprise SSD market
which can easily be choked off by slot substitution." and
occasional talk about "enterprise SSDs" - SanDisk is culturally
rooted in the consumer electronics market. That's a very competitive market in
which few companies are making profits."
theoretically fixes complimentary strategic weaknesses for both companies:-
no customers (Pliant) and no enterprise IP (SanDisk).
Looking back at
history -5 years ago tossed away a viable foothold in enterprise SSD
technology which had been established by an earlier acquired company
preferring to focus instead on its MLC flash patents and IP.
|| Looking forward Pliant's
SSD controller will
enable SanDisk to enter fast growing markets without having to join the
SandForce inside set.|
|the Problem with
Write IOPS |
the "play it again Sam" syndrome
|Editor:- Flash SSD "random
write IOPS" are now similar to "read IOPS" in many of the
fastest SSDs. |
why are they such a poor predictor of application performance?
why are users still buying
RAM SSDs which cost
9x more than SLC? - even when the IOPS specs look similar.
||This article tells you
why the specs got faster - but the applications didn't. And why competing SSDs
with apparently identical benchmark results can perform completely