Pliops strengthens board with appointment of Mellanox founder

Eyal Waldman

Mellanox founder Eyal Waldman has joined the board of Pliops, an Israeli data storage-tech startup. His role will be to help guide Pliop’s growth and scale its technology to new use cases. He will also advise on financial decisions, personnel and overall strategy, and meet key customers and partners.

“Pliops is one of those companies that is poised to make a huge impact. This is a pivotal time in the data centre and I’m looking forward to working with the Pliops team as they roll out their technology,” said Waldman, the former CEO of Mellanox, which was acquired earlier this year by Nvidia for $7bn. He left Nvidia in November.

According to Waldman, “Pliops is tackling the most challenging issues that are vexing to data centre architects – namely, the colliding trends of explosive data growth stored on fast flash media, ultimately limited by constrained compute resources.”

Eyal Waldman
Eyal Waldman.

To date, Pliops has raised $40m to fund the development of a storage processing unit (SPU), which we consider to be a sub-category of the new class of data processing units (DPU). The Pliops card hooks up to a server across a PCIe link and accelerates and offloads the server’s X86 CPUs. The company had originally targeted launch for mid-2019 but is now sampling its storage processors to select customers and expects general availability in Q1 2021.

Waldman’s Mellanox experience, connections and know-how should help the company in a competitive environment that is heating up.

Pliops must contend with VMware and Nvidia’s Project Monterey DPU vision. Nvidia also told us this week of its plans to add storage controller functions to the Bluefield SmartNIC.

Also Pliops SPU is similar in concept to another startup, Nebulon and its SPU, which has a cloud-managed and defined software architecture. Nebulon said it has bagged HPE and Supermicro as OEMs.