Intel-Backed Pliops Raises $30M To Boost Storage Processor Ambitions


Pliops, a startup developer of storage processor technology for cold storage and database applications, on Wednesday said it closed its Series B round of funding, bringing in $30 million.

That funding round includes funds from several strategic investors, including Intel Capital, which in 2017 led the company's $10 million A round of funding, said Steve Fingerhut, president and chief business officer of the Ramat Gan, Israel-based company.

Also participating in the new funding round are new strategic investors Western Digital Capital and Xilinx, along with venture capital companies Softbank Ventures Asia and State of Mind Ventures, Fingerhut told CRN.

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The investment from Intel, Western Digital, and Xylinx present potential future opportunities for Pliops, Fingerhut said.

"There will be collaboration on go-to-market," he said. "We will make sure our solutions work with theirs. Who knows what else might happen in the future."

The Softbank Ventures Asia investment is also a big win for Pliops, Fingerhut said.

"We're their first investment in infrastructure and hardware," he said. "They've previously invested in software companies, and heard from those companies' about their need to accelerate their applications."

Accelerating storage is what Pliops is looking to do.

The company is developing storage processor technology which is a new category of products that significantly accelerates a number of storage functions currently managed in software, as well as certain applications like cloud-based databases, Fingerhut said.

Pliops has already developed the core technology, and is slated to release it some time in mid-2019, he said. The company will first target large cloud hyperscalers with its technology, and then expand to other businesses, he said.

"To prove the technology, we are talking to the companies building and implementing the infrastructure," he said. "The problems large public companies are also seen in private clouds. And we see use cases in legacy environments as well. We will look at a broader ecosystem of vendors including systems integrators and channel partners."

Most storage processing in the cloud, as it is in on-premises infrastructures, is done using standard technologies including x86 and compatible processors, Fingerhut said.

"But we see the demand for dedicated processors so that performance can be increased without increasing the need for a larger number of servers," he said. "More servers becomes a pain for customers of all sizes. So far, we are not aware of other companies doing this. Certainly, there's a lot of interest in application acceleration. But our focus on the storage aspect, we believe, is a unique proposition."

Software-defined storage infrastructures, and customers who use software-defined storage to build the infrastructure on which the cloud is based, are a definite target of the upcoming Pliops storage processors, Fingerhut said.

Applications should be able to run easily on Pliops' new storage processors when they are available, Fingerhut said. "Only very minor changes are needed," he said. "Our approach is to be compatible with industry-standard APIs."

January has been a good month for storage vendors getting funding. Baar, Switzerland-based data protection storage vendor Veeam this month closed a $500-million funding round, while Palo Alto, Calif.-based data storage and management company Rubrik closed a $261-million round of funding.