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Broadcom bares 3G RAID architecture at IDF

Posted: 24 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:pci express? sas/sata raid-on-chip? host bus?

Broadcom Corp. is demonstrating what it claims to be the first SAS/SATA RAID-on-Chip (RoC) device with integrated PCI Express (PCIe) host bus architecture support at the ongoing Intel Development Forum 2005 (IDF) in San Francisco.

The demonstration highlights Broadcom's 3G RAID technology and features the capability of using either SAS (serial attached SCSI) or SATA (serial advanced technology attachment) drive formats to best match the customer's RAID storage requirements.

The PCI Express SAS/SATA RoC solution demonstration at IDF showcases the lowest power PCIe SAS/SATA RAID solution in the industry, as well as the highest usage and system design flexibility, driven by an advanced enterprise-class RAID software stack.

Representing an important transition in disk drive interconnect technology, SAS is expected to be widely adopted as a replacement to SCSI in enterprise computing platforms beginning early 2006. SAS represents significant performance, integration, reliability and serviceability advantages over SCSI, and is currently being shipped by top server OEMs.

Since the SAS infrastructure is compatible with lower cost SATA drive technology, the Broadcom RoC demonstration at IDF illustrates system design flexibility allowing for tiered storage offerings that mix SAS high-performance drives and SATA low-cost drives within the same storage network.

The SAS and SATA-based RoC demonstration includes next-generation PCI Express technology. PCI Express provides a standards-based, serial high-speed, point-to-point host bus architecture that enables significant performance and system integration advantages over older PCI-X parallel bus architectures.

Broadcom previously addressed the demand for PCI Express network solutions by creating the industry's first line of PCIe Gigabit Ethernet controllers in the Fall of 2003 and continues to ship multiple families of PCIe devices in a variety of wired and wireless controller solutions.

For system designers and integrators, the PCI Express SAS/SATA RAID solution demonstration at IDF shows significant space and power/thermal reductions as a direct benefit of the highly integrated RoC architecture.

By eliminating multiple devices, Broadcom's single-chip integration, coupled with superior I/O design, enables the design of smaller solutions that lower thermal and power requirements (expected to be less than 50 percent of existing solutions).

The lower heat and corresponding reduced power dissipation allows systems integrators to lower their costs by building less expensive storage equipment without the need for fans or additional external components that can drive up bill-of-materials costs. The trend toward smaller and thinner servers will be further accelerated with this capability.

XelCore (Broadcom's highly portable enterprise-class RAID software stack) enables the highest level of usage flexibility by having the unique ability to run in either "software RAID" mode (on the system host processor) or "hardware RAID" mode (in the embedded RoC processor). System designers now have a choice of designing high-performance, highly scalable storage systems using the "software RAID" capability, or opt for the "hardware RAID" mode to develop server systems with high storage offload and reliability.

The XelCore RAID stack provides support for all popular RAID levels and includes such enterprise-class features as online capacity expansion, online RAID level migration and the ability to create storage arrays that span multiple storage controllers without having to take the system offline.

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