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Pliops Makes Storage Computational

June 23, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

Cheap storage has spoiled application developers, but their use of unstructured data has reduced storage performance. To accelerate big-data applications, the industry is creating new system architectures that move some processing closer to storage under the computational-storage umbrella. A mix of startups, established storage vendors, and cloud-service providers are behind these efforts, creating both industry standards and proprietary specifications.

At the forefront of this work is the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), which developed nomenclature for different computational-storage architectures. The computation-storage array (CSA) places an accelerator between the system processor and an SSD array. The computational-storage drive (CSD) integrates the accelerator into an SSD. The computational-storage processor (CSP) is decoupled from the SSDs; the accelerator and storage become PCI Express peers.

Early computational-storage designs merely accelerate compute-intensive primitives such as compression, cryptography, and erasure coding, thereby offloading the host processor. Owing to the rapid innovation, all current products employ FPGAs to accelerate processing. Startup Pliops, however, is pushing acceleration to a higher level, shifting more of the storage stack into the accelerator. Sampling as an FPGA-based PCIe card, the Pliops CSP provides a key-value-storage interface (API) for database software such as Cassandra and Redis. For broad compatibility, the startup also offers a block-level driver that makes underlying acceleration transparent to the application.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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