Adaptec, PMC-Sierra Move 3-Gig SAS Forward - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Adaptec, PMC-Sierra Move 3-Gig SAS Forward

Adaptec and PMC-Sierra propelled 3 gigabit per second Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) closer to reality this week, with the first 3 Gb/s transmission and interconnect, respectively.

Adaptec claims it has become the first company to achieve full first-generation Serial Attached SCSI speeds of 3 Gb/s in tests of an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) that reached peak throughput of 5 Gb/s.

Adaptec says the signal transmission keeps it on track to deliver the first solutions built around 3 Gb/s SAS, the next-generation serial storage interface.

Adaptec reports its SAS ASIC is also architected to run at second-generation SAS speeds of 6 Gb/s. Early delivery of the dual-architecture ASIC will help system builders speed time-to-market of first-generation SAS solutions and reduce costs of second-generation solutions, according to the company. The ASIC will incorporate Adaptec's HostRAID data protection technology and is part of Adaptec's suite of interoperable end-to-end solutions.

The prototype Adaptec ASIC generated the Serial Attached SCSI data, and Adaptec link technology converted the data commands into electrical signals transmitted over a serial cable at 3 gigabits per second, the two key capabilities required to build Serial Attached SCSI chips.

"Market interest in Serial Attached SCSI continues to build as product development efforts keep the industry on track to introduce Serial Attached SCSI systems by mid-2004," maintains John Monroe, a research vice president at Gartner Dataquest. "The interface's support for storage of both high-demand transactional data and archived reference information, combined with its ability to deliver greater system throughput and scalability, could make it a significant part of the enterprise market starting in 2005."

PMC-Sierra Introduces 3-Gig SAS Interconnect

PMC-Sierra, meanwhile, introduced the first 3 gigabit per second SAS interconnect.

"Parallel SCSI has basically run out of gas," stated Mark Stibitz, VP and general manager of PMC-Sierra's Enterprise Storage Division, in an interview with Enterprise Storage Forum. "It's time to take advantage of high-speed serial interconnects."

With dual-ported drives, no single point of failure, and other enterprise-class features, Stibitz expects rapid adoption of SAS once the first products hit the market next year.

"We expect to see a very fast cutover to SAS, probably sometime next year," he says.

Stibitz reports there has been a "high level of design activity" by OEMs around SAS, and he expects product announcements to pick up in the next few months.

SAS backplanes also support Serial ATA drives, allowing customers to combine high-end performance with low-cost backup in the same solution.

PMC-Sierra's new PM8380 QuadSMX 3G gigabit serial interconnect is a four-channel, bi-directional 2:1 multiplexer/demultiplexer operating at 3 Gb/s. The device provides storage and server equipment makers with a high-performance gigabit serial interface solution for applications such as SAS host-controller signal steering to internal or external storage targets, signal repeating, and level shifting.

Manufactured in 0.18um CMOS technology, the QuadSMX 3G is optimized for low power, small footprint, and advanced signal integrity. It supports both 3.0 and 1.5 Gb/s operation and is electrically compliant with the SAS 1.0 and SATA I/II industry standard specifications. The product supports auto-detect or programmable output swing level control for seamless interconnect to SATA I, SATA II, or SAS hard disk drives. Functionality can either be pin-strapped or user programmed through a serial interface.

The QuadSMX 3G has a typical power of 800mW and is packaged in an 11x11mm, 100-pin CABGA. Pricing is $14 in quantities of 10,000.

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