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By | Chris Mellor 2nd September 2009 14:16

Solid State of the union

Some SSD inaugurations

Since VMware and virtual stuff are all the rage, here are three virtual solid state disk stories. Well, rumours. Take them at less than face value if you will, but they do come from reputable and credible sources.


First up is Intel. There are whispers suggesting that Intel and Micron have SSD ambitions that have not been assuaged by the X18 and X25 consumer and SMB flash modules. We already know Micron has PCIe flash ambitions.

Word is that they are looking towards the enterprise sector. Jim Handy of Objective Analysis also thinks that Intel's NAND-on-motherboard Braidwood technology could have a server implementation coming.

Both things hint that Intel and Micron want a piece of the enterprise SSD market, either in the shape of server motherboard flash or as straight SSD. We don't yet know whether this is for disk drive replacement, server accelerator card use or both.


In second place is Pliant, which is preparing for the release of its coming enterprise flash drive. It was founded in 2006 and got $8m of A-round funding in 2008. Somebody funded its first couple of years before this A-round, which was led by Lightspeed Ventures.

In March Pliant announced it had raised $15m in a C-Round, not a B-round. Menlo Ventures came in on this round and Pliant said "Other leading VC firms investing in the Series C round, as well as in previous rounds, include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Arcturus Capital, and Divergent Ventures."

So there was a B-round for an undisclosed amount. Presumably Lightspeed, Arcturus and Divergent were involved in the B-round.

Pliant lists the four venture capitalist investors on its web site: Arcturus Capital; Divergent Ventures; Lightspeed Venture Partners; and Menlo Ventures. The word is that there is a fifth investor and that is... EMC. How delightful.


Lastly and leastly, we reported in October last year that PCI-e-connnect SSD supplier Fusion-io and IBM were teaming up to improve the I/O performance of IBM clustered servers. This would build on the million IOPS Project Quicksilver demo, with IBM's SAN Volume Controller screaming out the million IOPS through having lots of Fusion-io ioDrives hooked up. Since then Fusion-io has changed its CEO and nothing else has been heard about it.

Now there is a hint of activity in the Big Blue Fusion-io camp. It seems that some kind of progress is being made here and that a product may be on the way.


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