[Executive Interview] Liqid VP Marketing, Sumit Puri

Liqid has developed multiple solutions including a platform for disaggregated infrastructure and a best-in-class PCIe SSD offering for the enterprise.
Recently, I sat down with Sumit Puri from Liqid, a proclaimed data center innovation company that has just emerged further from stealth mode. Founded in 2013, there has been scant news on the company as it raised funds for product development.  There has been some industry buzz starting due to the recent release of the Kingston EP1000 NVMe Enterprise SSD. Liqid and Kingston partnered to develop the product.

Sumit Puri has been with Liqid for about a year and a half now; his involvement with the company started at the very beginning with Liqid. Jay Breakstone, the founder and CEO of Liqid, originally invited Sumit to join the company after his job at SandForce.

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Sumit Puri is a storage industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He has been focused on defining technology roadmaps for key industry leaders including SandForce, LSI and Toshiba.  Most recently he lead Strategic Marketing at LSI prior to the acquisition by Avago Technologies. He has a long history of bringing successful products to market with numerous teams and large-scale organizations.

Tell us about the problem Liqid addresses for your customers?

Liqid has developed multiple solutions including a platform for disaggregated infrastructure and a best-in-class PCIe SSD offering for the enterprise. With the PCIe SSD, we are giving enterprise businesses the capacity and performance they need to help address their storage needs within data systems. This creation fell out of a larger goal, however.

Liqid started with the vision of creating an affordable solution to help enterprise businesses manage their data center resources through disaggregated infrastructure. Disaggregated infrastructure takes all the critical elements of the computing system/machine—storage, compute and networking—and breaks them apart into individual components. This allows for the independent scale out of each resource to match whatever applications a business is trying to run.

The rising cost of maintaining and powering hardware infrastructure is pushing people to the cloud. Through disaggregated infrastructure technology, we envision a solution that helps build and power the next generation private and public clouds. Big names like Facebook believe in this type of solution, but disaggregated infrastructure has been more of a concept than a practical reality – until now. Our solution depends upon two key factors: what we call a fabric, a way to connect all of it [your hardware, data center, etc.] together, and the software to deploy and manage the pieces that are interconnected by the fabric.

Disaggregated infrastructure is more efficient, more agile, and more scalable; we are going to break the “rip and replace” model. New commodity hardware components come out every month, and in order to take advantage of a specific resource many times a full system replacement is required to update your data center to the latest technology. Instead, dedicate those dollars to updating only the specific resources you need as you need it, and architect your infrastructure on demand. Why spend so much capital on updating all of your hardware at every refresh cycle? Upgrade that specific resource and leave everything else. Disaggregated infrastructure also enables a “pay as you grow” solution and allows the administrator to stop worrying about futurecasting.

We utilize a PCIe fabric for the interconnected components, and Liqid OS is the software developed to help manage this disaggregated infrastructure. Liqid OS allows you to dynamically create your own bare-metal machines in your data center that you command, orchestrate, build and change as you need. If you need to temporarily add computing power, storage, or networking it is easy to do so dynamically. It is just as easy to delete specific resources or entire clusters of machines as workloads and resource requirements change. Liqid OS is the conductor of this symphony and the orchestrator of the hardware, translating all the commands to configure the fabric and “weaving” or connecting it altogether to help transform enterprise business’ data management.

Can you share with us some of the performance stats achieved with the Liqid product? 

The EP1000 NVMe Enterprise SSD has achieved impressive stats. It is capable of speeds up to 7GB/s and 1.25 million IOPS with an average latency of 30 microseconds. Compared to many other competitors on the market, no one is getting close to those numbers.

Tell us more about your Kingston relationship and the product sets featuring Liqid. 

The partnership with Kingston allows Liqid to enter the SSD market and break the mold of what is currently offered. It enables us to pair up with a well-known company that already possesses a large market share and brand loyalty. Kingston’s role in the partnership has driven success as the product becomes unveiled. Kingston is the drive supplier and we are an IP provider, helping to expand and boost the potential of the current SSD cards and future offerings. The market is rapidly growing and more focus will be shifted that way as there is more and more traction over time. The partnership is very exciting because this is Kingston’s flagship PCIe NVMe SSD targeted for the enterprise SSD segment, and as their partner, we are disrupting the market along with them.

Liqid-Kingston EP1000 -YourDailyTech
Liqid-Kingston EP1000

Which market segments will be early adopters of the Liqid product?

There are over 25 early access customers with product in hand who are testing/qualifying the NVMe SSD as their next high-performance storage solution for their production environments. The feedback has been very positive. Some of our early adopters have included big, well-known names in storage, system, and cloud technology.

What do you find to be a key differentiator Liqid offers in this space?

In addition to the raw speed, all across the board the SSD card has best-in-class performance and features. The performance is proving to be the first huge differentiator for the card. The partnership is also unique because Kingston provides the world-class manufacturing and support required for the enterprise market segment; they are a huge, familiar name for SSD storage and DRAM markets. Customers can rely on a familiar name such as Kingston with a solution that provides the capacity and performance needed for today’s enterprise businesses.

In fact, at CES in January, we didn’t even enter the contest, but Tom’s Hardware stopped at our booth in the Kingston suite and saw the product demonstrations. They told us it was the best product they had seen so far and gave us “Best Enterprise Storage” Award. The product is already beginning to speak for itself.  The card has four terabytes raw capacity and is highly differentiated compared to some of the other options on the market. It is very, very exciting. There are no drivers or other required software pieces; strictly plug-and-play. But Liqid does have a comprehensive software roadmap leveraging IP from our system level solution to add additional features and enhancements beyond what the raw card has to offer.

Tell us about the support available for your product?

We are available to answer technology questions in conjunction with Kingston for any issues or questions that customers might have or will have in the future about the NVMe SSD cards.

I know Liqid received favorable reviews from the CES unveiling of the Kingston EP1000 NVMe Enterprise SSD. When is the next opportunity a potential customer can see Liqid on a tradeshow floor?

Liqid plans on appearing with Kingston in the following tradeshows later this year.

Flash Memory Summit 2016: Aug 9-11, 2016 Santa Clara, CA
Intel Developer Forum 2016: Aug 16-18, 2016 San Francisco, CA
VM World: Aug 28- Sept 1, 2016 Las Vegas, NV

Additional Resources

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Lindsey Cobb

Lindsey Cobb, a Georgia native and former history major, is a technology researcher who is fascinated by past and future of technology. When she is not engrossed in the prophecy of science fiction stories, Lindsey is likely to be planning her next adventurous trip or petting every dog she meets. Contact Lindsey at [email protected]