Emulex, Intel Pledge First Integrated Storage Processors

Emulex and Intel say they plan to develop the first storage processors
that integrate Serial ATA, Serial Attached SCSI and Fibre Channel
interfaces within a single architecture.

The companies say the result of the joint development will be a broad
line of storage processors that will deliver new levels of performance
and integration across what are projected to be the three most widely
used storage-system interfaces. The first processors are expected to be
delivered in 2004.

The chips will enable equipment makers to utilize common hardware and
software components across entire families of Serial ATA, Serial
Attached SCSI (SAS) and Fibre Channel products for high-performance
direct-attached storage and storage-area network solutions, Emulex and
Intel said. This “building block” approach will enable equipment makers
to extend the value of their hardware and software investments over
multiple generations of products, the companies claim.

Under the agreement, Emulex will develop the protocol controller
hardware, firmware and drivers. Intel will contribute its expertise in
storage processor technology development and integrate its
high-performance, low-power XScale microarchitecture as the core
technology for the new processors. Intel also will manufacture the
processors on its 90-nanometer process technology. Emulex will market
the resulting Fibre Channel products, and Intel will market the Serial
ATA and SAS products.

The jointly developed controllers will utilize Emulex’s Service Level
Interface (SLI) technology. Emulex says SLI provides driver
compatibility across a product line and allows firmware to be upgraded
independently of drivers.

Specific details will not be disclosed until the products launch, and
the companies said no material licensing revenue is expected from the

“This agreement enables Emulex to develop superior Fibre Channel
solutions while maintaining our SLI architecture leadership,” claims
Emulex President and COO Kirk Roller. “This multiprotocol serial storage
architecture promises leadership benefits for our traditional market
segments as well as new opportunities, including blade server, embedded
and target storage applications. At the same time, Intel will deliver
new Serial ATA and SAS components for the DAS market segment, expanding
the value of OEM investments in Emulex APIs.”

Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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