Agere Unveils Serial Interface Platform

Agere Systems
has introduced a platform that makes speedy serial interfaces work for
storage
applications.

Agere’s Serial Storage Interface Platform (SSIP) is a configurable
serializer-deserializer (SERDES) which can be combined with Agere’s
TrueStore read-channel technology to develop storage SoCs and
controllers. The product allows hard disk drive and system manufacturers to move
from parallel interfaces to serial interfaces, which will increase the data
throughput between disk drives and motherboards in PCs, laptops,
consumer
electronic devices and corporate storage applications. SSIP can also be
used
in host bus adapter and chipset designs.

The news is indicative of the major push that serial technologies have been
getting over older, traditional parallel technologies. Parallel data
transfer, such as Parallel ATA , entails sending data
along a number of parallel routes and has always meant many wires and high
frequency signals prone to electrical interference. Serial ATA
, on the other hand, uses a single cable with a minimum of four wires to create a point-to-point connection between devices.

Dave Reinsel, Research Manager, Hard Disk Drives and Components at IDC, discussed additional benefits of serial technologies over parallel with internetnews.com.

“IDE or ATA drives can be master/slave, hence having two drives on one ATA
channel, but sharing the bandwidth,” Reinsel said. “SCSI drives exacerbate the problem
with the ability to share up to 15 devices on one cable. Managing the
signals becomes very difficult, especially as data rates increase. Hence,
the desire for serial interfaces, or in the case of Serial ATA and Serial
SCSI, point-to-point topologies. One drive gets its own channel.

“This way, each drive can utilize the full bandwidth itself without worrying
about having to share or manage signal integrity. Parallel ATA at 100 or
133 is just about at the end of its rope and Parallel SCSI (SCSI 320) is
bumping its head hard against the ceiling. Each will benefit greatly from
a serial architecture.

Allentown, Pa.’s Agere sees its SSIP as a building block for drive-side
systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) and integrated circuits (ICs) across such
serial
interface standards as Serial ATA, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and
Fibre Channel. It will support current and next-generation data rates
for
each interface standard, including 1.5- and 3-Gbit/sec speeds for
Serial ATA
and SAS implementations, and 1.06-, 2.125- and 4.25-Gbits/sec for Fibre
Channel networked drives.

Serial ATA and SAS are projected to replace the predominant parallel
ATA and
SCSI interfaces over the next few
years, and Agere’s SSIP core could be used to increase the data
throughput
available in current parallel ATA drives from 100 to 150- and
300-megabytes-per-second.

Reinsel said Agere is trying to support the serial interfaces (SATA, SAS,
and FC) with a single core to ease the integration of these serial
interfaces.

“Anytime we can integrate technology into a fewer, or better
yet, a single, component then that eases integration and lowers the cost,” Reinsel said.

Reinsel said he expects the number of hard disk drives using serial
interfaces will represent 70 percent of the global drive market by
2006.

SSIP will be available for integration in custom-designed SoCs and
controllers beginning in April.

This article originally appeared on internetnews.com

Back to Enterprise Storage Forum

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

Latest Articles

IBM Brings Cloud-Based Spectrum Storage to Microsoft Azure

Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud offers the same storage features and functionalities that are found in on-premises data centers.

Hitachi Vantara Eyes Hybrid Clouds with New Storage Offerings

The new lineup aims to give large enterprises and SMEs the ability to stretch their cloud environments from data centers to the edge.

Tape Storage: Security & Backup Matters

Tape storage certainly isn't dead, though few vendors work to improve it and few major enterprises talk about it. However, in the wake of...