Pliant does MLC flash

Cheaper flash storage array drives


The march of MLC flash into mainstream enterprise storage took another step forward today as Pliant launched its Enterprise Flash Disk (EFD) products.

Pliant is a startup focused on competing with industry leader STEC to supply solid state drives (SSD) as hard disk drive replacements for storage arrays, where they provide a top tier of storage offering the fastest data I/O. Pliant first offered single-level cell (SLC) flash, the fastest and most expensive, and has now moved on to providing a 2-bit multi-level cell (MLC) range that is slower, but still faster than hard drives, while being less expensive than SLC product.

MLC drives in general have limited write endurance compared to SLC flash. Pliant's MLC drives features a proprietary ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) providing extended write endurance and data reliability features. There are two products, the Lightning LB 200M and 400M, with 200GB and 400GB capacities. They come in the 2.5-inch format, and have a 3Gbit/s SAS interface, with four fully independent full duplex ports. 6Gbit/s SAS is now expected next year, it having been originally intended to arrive some time this year.

Pliant has not provided peak I/O rates, saying these are often based on write data caching in the SSD and don't reflect sustained, real-world performance. It says the LB 400M offers more than 10,000 IOPS with a 70/30 read/write mix of 4KB data blocks. The LB 200M offers more than 8,000 such IOPS. Both these figures exclude write data caching, as the products don't have a write cache.

The total sustained IOPS rate for the 400M is above 25,000 with the 200M having more than 20,000. For comparison Pliant's LB 150S SLC product offers more than 120,000 - quite a performance gap. The sustained read and write data transfer rates are 270MB/sec and 100MB/sec for the 400M, and 240MB/sec and 100MB/se for the 200M. The SLC product offers 420MB/sec and 220MB/sec respectively.

There are unlimited writes during the five year lifetime of these MLC drive. Data security measures including background Patrol Read and Memory Reclaim to speed the write process, extended ECC, triple-redundant ECC protected metadata, and support for the T10 Data Integrity Field (DIF) standard.

We have SLC SSDS available as a tier zero in storage arrays. Since 15,000rpm Fibre Channel or SAS drives represent a tier one it seems we'll have to call the MLC flash drives tier 0.5 storage. What might happen is that SLC flash goes into high-end storage arrays, the V-MAX and DS8000 type products, with MLC drives going into the mid-range modular arrays, the CLARiiONs, EVAs and DS4000s. It's unlikely arrays will use both SLC and MLC flash as the performance difference is not that great considering the amounts of highly active data involved.

EMC has announced the availability of less expensive MLC flash drives, and these are thought to be based on Micron product.

Pliant's Lightning LB 200M and LB 400M are being delivered for OEM evaluation and qualification, and will be available via authorised Pliant channel partners in October. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021