PMC Unveils Series 8 12Gbit/s RAID Adapters

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With an eye toward the rapid enterprise adoption of SSDs, PMC has unveiled its Adaptec Series 8 12Gb/s SAS RAID Adapters.

This new iteration is a major step past Series 7, which supported 6Gb/s SAS interfaces. Series 8 delivers greater than 700,000 4k random read RAID I/Os per second, a 60 percent improvement over the prior product. This speed boost enables the full potential of 12Gb/s SAS SSDs, which are twice as fast as 6Gb/s SAS SSDs and exponentially faster than traditional hard drives.

Indeed, PMC boasts that, in tandem with its I/O protocol controllers, RAID-on-Chip (RoC) controllers, SAS expanders, solid state drive (SSD) controllers and advanced software, it provides the industry’s “only complete 12Gb/s SAS architecture to access the untapped performance of 12Gb/s SSDs.”

Clearly some vendors would quibble with that assessment. LSI started shipping its first 12Bb/s SAS adapters this past summer.

Series 8’s high-port technology enables data center admins to create hybrid storage arrays utilizing any mix of SSDs and HDDs. Yet it is SSD that the enterprise is now gravitating toward.

“Enterprise datacenters and cloud environments have a need to accelerate application performance while coping with massive data growth cost effectively,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research director for Solid State Storage at IDC, in a statement. “12Gb/s SAS architectures and tiering technologies are poised to overcome these challenges and help unlock the full potential of SSDs, which is one of the key reasons IDC expects shipments of SAS SSDs to grow at a 75 percent compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017.”

In today’s heterogeneous data centers, interoperability is essential. Series 8 was designed with a mixed compute environment in mind. The solution’s new maxCache Plus provides the flexibility to configure all storage devices in a server environment, not just those connected to PMC hardware. Any of a server’s storage assets can be deployed based on their performance capabilities, with the media capable of the greatest speed used for data acceleration.

“With our new Series 8 RAID adapters, PMC is now addressing all the key points of 12Gb/s SAS connectivity,” said Jared Peters, PMC’s VP of Server Storage Solutions. “We designed our Series 8 adapter family to enable denser, faster and more configurable storage environments, which translates directly into faster data delivery and access. With innovations like the maxCache Plus tiering capability for Series 8, we continue to provide the technology that helps data center architects get the most value and performance out of their storage assets.”

The Series 8 family comprises five models, all based on PMC’s 12Gb/s SAS RoC controllers, in low-profile form factor. Configurations include 16-port adapters that PMC claims “connects twice as many drives as competing solutions.” The full rundown of the new release includes 16-port low profile with maxCache Plus; 16-port (8 internal, 8 external) low profile; 8-port internal low profile; Entry 16-port (8 internal, 8 external) low profile; and a SuperCap Flash Back-up Module. The 12Gb/s standard is backward compatible with existing 6Gb/s SAS infrastructures.

Whatever the configuration, it’s today’s emphasis on handling large pools of data quickly – whether for Big Data number crunching, cloud computing, content delivery or database applications – that is driving the need for ever faster network speeds. And it is the greater speed of SSDs along with quicker network speeds that is allowing that.

Gary Gentry, senior VP of Seagate’s solid state drive business, noted the importance of this combination. “Our new 12Gb/s SAS SSDs dramatically improve response times to dynamic and mission-critical data in cloud and datacenter environments, but an end-to-end 12Gb/s SAS architecture is a critical part of the foundation of the build out,” he said. “Products like PMC’s Series 8 adapters are key elements that will allow data center architects to realize the full benefits of our industry-leading SSD performance.”

PMC will demonstrate the new Series 8 RAID adapter family at the Intel Developers Forum, September 10-12, 2013, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

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