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New Processor Promises 3 to 15x Faster Server Storage

Pliops XDP
(Image credit: Pliops/ServeTheHome)

Pliops, a relatively new startup company founded in 2017 concentrating on data processing, has finally taken the cover off its long-awaited product: the Pliops XDP. The XDP acronym is short for eXtreme Data Processor, which is designed to essentially represent a more modern RAID controller for servers with all-flash storage.

"Just as GPUs overcome processing inefficiencies to accelerate AI and analytics performance, the breakthrough Pliops Extreme Data Processor (XDP) overcomes storage inefficiencies to massively accelerate performance and dramatically lower infrastructure costs for today’s applications." - says the Pliops website about its XDP product.

The Pliops XDP processor is an easy-to-deploy, low-profile PCIe-based card that runs in any standard server configuration. It is home to a Xilinx FPGA, which is soon to be joined by an ASIC (as per ServeTheHome), which is programmed to manage NVMe storage in a way that provides up to a 3-15 times performance increase compared to existing solutions. As the company notes, it is a way for server system technology to finally keep up with the progress of storage technology and unite the two.

If you are wondering just how it works, the XDP card actually takes the applications running on the system and transports them directly to storage. This eliminates the need for a CPU for these applications, and it provides up to 80% less stress on the CPU, freeing up performance and giving the whole system a big boost. 

Pliops has designed the XDP processor to be used in two possible modes: NVMe block interface or key-value library API. The second method will reduce CPU overhead as the XDP handles query retrieval from the database.

Pliops XDP

(Image credit: Pliops/ServeTheHome)

The company website notes that "XDP seamlessly manages data flow from application to storage, shaping the data for optimal placement to the lowest-cost SSDs, enabling very high performance with fully offloaded data protection and inline transparent compression.", continuing that "XDP’s ultra-fast hardware-based storage engine leverages breakthrough data structures and algorithms to deliver the performance equivalent of hundreds of Intel Xeon Gold cores of common data processing and storage management functions. This eliminates bottlenecks, reduces latency, and greatly increases workload scaling of your existing infrastructure footprint."

Pliops already has some major customers implementing its XDP card in data centers across the globe, and the official company website includes quotes from the likes of Intel and Nvidia, stating a few words about the success that they have experienced using the XDP product. You can find that on the official Pliops website here.