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Storage Startup Pliops Snags $65M Round As Nvidia Ups Stake

‘We make OLC higher performance by eliminating up to 90 percent of writes to QLC. That makes QLC NAND last up to 10 times longer than it otherwise would. When paired with Intel Optane, which is already fast, we make it faster,’ says Pliops President Steve Fingerhut.

Pliops, a startup developer of technology for improving storage performance using low-cost QLC NAND, this week unveiled a new $65-million round of funding and plans to bring its technology to cloud companies and the channel in the very near future.

The latest round was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the venture arm of Koch Industries. Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker Nvidia increased its share in the company, Pliops noted.

With the new round, Pliops has now raised a total of $115 million, much of which comes from a number of key strategic investors including Intel Capital, Nvidia, Western Digital, and Xilinx, all of whom could eventually take advantage of the technology they have had a hand in funding.

The funding is important for accelerating Pliops’ ability to bring its technology to market, said Steve Fingerhut, president of the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

[Related: The 10 Hottest SSD And Flash Storage Devices Of 2020]

Pliops, which two years ago last month exited stealth by introducing its storage processor plans, is already in pilot production with some of its biggest customers, including a few cloud service providers and enterprises, Fingerhut said.

Broad availability of the technology, which is a hardware-enabled storage engine that can be deployed in a PCIe card or as a cloud service to accelerate data center data-intensive applications, is slated for the second quarter, he said.

Pliops’ technology that squeezes more performance out of QLC NAND storage than more expensive TLC-based NAND with software, Fingerhut said.

“We make OLC higher performance by eliminating up to 90 percent of writes to QLC,” he said. “That makes QLC NAND last up to 10 times longer than it otherwise would. When paired with Intel Optane, which is already fast, we make it faster.”

In addition to working with Intel Optane, Pliops’ storage engine can connect with Nvidia GPUs to increase performance, Fingerhut said. Nvidia became an investor when it acquired Mellanox, an early investor in Pliops, he said.

Semiconductor manufacturer Xylinx is partnering on Pliops’ core technology, while the Pliops technology can also be used storage vendor Western Digital for its NVMe over Fabric storage or its new ZNS (Zoned Namespace) technology that forms a high-performance interface between a host and an SSD, he said.

Solution providers will soon be able to bring the hardware version into the servers they bring to customers’ on-premises environments, Fingerhut said.

“We are building a low-profile PCIe card with an NVMe driver that presents as a standard block device to accelerate any server with any media for any app,” he said. Channel partners can purchase the card and add it to any server. We’re a building block provider for the channel.”

Others in the channel will be able to deploy the Pliops technology as a cloud service, Fingerhut said.

“For instance, the storage processor can be deployed on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform,” he said. “Software vendors can then use it to deploy Pliops as a service.”

With the new funding, Pliops does not expect to need another round for some time, Fingerhut said. “We still had plenty of funding from before in the bank,” he said.

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