Pliant releases its first MLC-based SSDs

Firm says 2.5-in drives can generate up to 10,000 I/Os per second

Pliant Technology today introduced a new family of lower-cost, higher-capacity solid state drives (SSD) based on consumer-grade NAND flash memory but built for data center use.

The Pliant Lightning LB 200M and Lightning LB 400M enterprise flash drives (EFD) are based on multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash technology, a new controller design and software that can stand up to the requirements of large data centers, the company said.

Pliant had previously focused exclusively on selling higher-end, single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash in its LS 300S, LS 150S LB 150S SSD products.

MLC NAND technology affords higher density because more than one bit of data is stored in cells. SLC NAND only stores a single bit. SLC has traditionally had higher performance and reliability than MLC NAND because it required less complex management software.

However, with the advent of more advanced wear-leveling software, MLC-based SSDs are approaching the same reliability as SLC-based products.

Pliant's new LB 200M and 400M have 200GB and 400GB of capacity, respectively and use a native serial-attached SCSI (SAS) interface.

"If I want good performance and higher capacity, these drives offer a great alternative to high-performance hard drives," said Greg Goelz, vice president of marketing for Pliant. "Think of this as an added tier, not a replacement for SLC SSDs.

Goelz said the new 2.5-in LB-series SSDs can achieve up to 10,000 I/Os per second (IOPS), compared to 35,000 IOPS for the LS-series SSDs. The LS series offers capacities of up to 150GB.

"So you get MLC economics with SLC performance ... relatively to competitive offerings," he said.

The company would not disclose pricing plans, citing the need by resellers to come up with their own price tags. However, Goelz said the products will have a suggested price of about $US10 per gigabyte, about half the cost of SLC SSDs.

"Typical use for these SSDs would be five or six of them behind a RAID controller that will give you great fault tolerance and 60,000 to 70,000 IOPS with multiple terabytes of capacity," he said.

The LB series SSDs will be generally available next month.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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