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RAID adapter connects PCIe 2.0 to eight SATA ports

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PCIe? serial ATA? RAID adapter? SSD? x86?

maxRAID BR5225-80

PMC-Sierra Inc. has released the maxRAID architecture and the first product in the family, the BR5225-80 RAID adapter designed for solid-state disk (SSD) storage in x86 servers.

Based on PMC-Sierra's multicore SRC 8x6G RAID-on-Chip (RoC) controller and multithreaded, performance-optimized RAID stack software, the maxRAID BR5225-80 connects PCIe 2.0 to eight SAS/serial ATA ports at up to 6Gbit/s and targets data- and transaction-intensive applications requiring highest IOPS and throughput. The maxRAID architecture currently delivers 136,000 IOPS in a single RAID controller and can achieve up to 300,000 IOPS, as shown in simulations of PMC-Sierra's next-generation 6Gb/s SAS RAID solution. PMC-Sierra's RAID platform includes the maxRAID Storage Manager, a Web-based graphical application with an intuitive user interface that allows users to manage their server storage efficiently from a standard browser on any console within the company or VPN.

PMC-Sierra entered into a joint development agreement (JDA) with IBM to collaborate on breakthrough RAID solutions integrating PMC-Sierra's storage protocol controller family and IBM's industry-hardened RAID software.

"PMC-Sierra and IBM engineering teams worked together to bring to market a high-performance enterprise RAID solution for x86 servers," said Jan Janick, VP, blades and system x server development. "The maxRAID BR5225-80 offers customers of our newly announced eX5 servers the application performance they require in a RAID solution with solid state disks. The PMC solution enables IBM to offer a RAID adapter that takes full advantage of SSD-enabled system performance."

Today's RAID adapters are designed for HDDs, which provide a fraction of the performance of a single SSD. In many cases, multiple enterprise HDDs are "short stroked" to use a small portion of the overall capacity to gain better performance. This technique reduces disk utilization on each HDD and creates a costly solution to improve performance. PMC-Sierra's maxRAID BR5225-80 uses a multithreaded, multicore architecture combined with a RAID stack based on IBM's RAID technology that can leverage the full performance advantages of SSD storage, saving system cost, lowering data center power requirements and maximizing storage capacity utilization.

The maxRAID architecture combines multiple RAID processing cores and PMC-Sierra's RoCstar interconnect with the multithreaded maxRAID stack to create an extendible architecture that efficiently scales as more cores and processing power are added to next-generation RoC ICs. The architecture and next-generation RoC controllers will take future RAID 5 random read performance from today's 136K IOPS with the maxRAID BR5225-80 up to up to 300K IOPS on a single controller. A server configuration with four next-generation PMC-Sierra maxRAID adapters each connected to eight SSDs will achieve greater than one million IOPS.

"Leveraging the strength and market success of our 6Gbit/s SAS RoC technology, PMC-Sierra continues to deliver industry-leading RAID solutions that provide an advantage to our customers," said Mark Stibitz, VP and general manager of PMC-Sierra's enterprise storage division. "Our first maxRAID SSD solution is outperforming HDD RAID by a factor of 60 to one, demonstrating the value PMC's maxRAID platform can bring to next-generation server and storage system designs."

PMC-Sierra's maxRAID BR5225-80 adapter is sampling now to select OEM customers, with a list price of $495.

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