Thursday, 11 April 2013

Pliant Technology Lightning EFD LS/LB Enterprise-Grade SSDs

The days of the old spinning platter hard drives may soon be numbered.
The gap in both price and performance between hard disk drives (HDDs)
and the up-and-coming solid-state disk (SSD) technology is getting razor
thin and we may soon see a point of parity that could spell the death
knell for the old stalwart HDD. This means that your storage will get
faster and cheaper as designers and data storage architects work to
integrate the devices into the flash memory of the computer's
motherboard. Speaking directly to this market shift, relative newcomers,
Pliant Technology, have just announced the release of two new
enterprise-grade SSDs that it claims have more than doubled the speeds
of its closest competitors.
Pliant Technology's freshman series of enterprise SSDs, which includes
the 3.5-in EFD LS and the 2.5-in EFD LB, is built on a proprietary ASIC
design that the company says can manage over two times the input/output
operations per second (IOPS) as even the fastest competitive drives. So
what are we talking when it comes to IOPS? How about 180,000 IOPS for
the EDF LS and 140,000 IOPS for the EFD LB. And when it comes to
read/write speeds, there is no doubt that the numbers from Pliant will
raise some skeptical eyebrows.
According to Pliant, the 3.5-in EFD LS drive can produce up to 500MB/sec
sustained read or 320MB/sec write rates while the 2.5-in EFD LB clocks
in at up to 420MB/sec read and 220MB/sec write rates. Pliant also makes
the claim that there is no limit to the number of writes that can be
performed to the drive and that it will work without slowdown for at
least five years. They are hitting right at one of the major concerns of
most enterprise users, durability.
As for competitive technology, the majority of enterprise-grade SSD
manufacturers use what is called fiber channel connectivity. This is a
key differentiator for Pliant. Their new products use serial-attached
SCSI (SAS), which has been called the interconnect of the future by
those that follow the industry closest. In its current state, SAS
supports 6Gb/sec data transfer speeds while its roadmap indicates a
target of 12Gb/sec rate by 2012. Fiber channel drives are currently
capable of 4Gb/sec data transfer speeds.
Pliant states that the target market for their new set of drives is the
OEM segment with major players like HP, EMC, and Hitachi Data Systems
being top on the list. I suppose this means that consumers shouldn't
expect to see them at their local Best Buy anytime soon. Pliant refused
to release an MSRP for the drives but they have stated that they will
fall somewhere between Intel's 64GB SATA X25-E SSD at $780 and STECs
73GB fiber channel Zeus SSD at $6,000. A price range of $780 to $6,000?
Now that's pretty useful, isn't it.
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