By Ann Silverthorn
—This week, LSI Logic rounded out its Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA (SATA) adapter lines with additions for server, workstation, and enterprise storage interconnection requirements. LSI released three SAS host bus adapters (HBAs), as well as two SATA RAID adapters and a SAS zero-channel RAID (ZCR) adapter for the MegaRAID product line. (Models and pricing are listed below.) The new 3Gbps products increase LSI's SAS/SATA adapter line by 50%.
"You can break the direct-attached storage market up into three categories based on size," says Tom McCarthy, LSI's senior channel marketing manager. "Entry level is below one terabyte, mainstream is from one to ten terabytes, and enterprise level is above ten terabytes. Within each of those levels there are different bands of storage based on the application."
McCarthy says that LSI's adapter line can now support applications ranging from archiving, which can tolerate low-cost SATA storage; to mission-critical applications, such as databases, e-mail and multi-media that demand high-performing, highly reliable SAS storage; to tiered environments that use a mixture of SAS and SATA.
LSI's HBA line features the Fusion MPT CPU-based controller architecture, which puts integrated RAID and driver functions in the adapter card firmware. This uses less CPU memory and increases performance. Integrated RAID on the HBAs allows users to build RAID levels 0, 1, 1E, or 10E. According to McCarthy, Level 1E is enhanced mirroring, which offers the same functionality as RAID 10 on an odd number of drives, starting with three. RAID 10E is the same as RAID 1E, but on an even number of drives.
LSI builds its own native PCI-X and PCI-Express controller chips on its HBAs instead of using a bridge chip from a PCI-X controller to PCI-Express, which can degrade performance.
The MegaRAID line includes an OS-independent management suite, which allows users to manage tiered storage. In addition, two of the new MegaRAID adapters allow SAS-enabled SATA. LSI builds the SATA adapters with a common connector, cabling, and firmware, similar to the way a SAS adapter would be built. This allows users to start with a SATA adapter and upgrade to a SAS adapter without having to rebuild the related infrastructure.
LSI's new MegaRAID SAS zero-channel RAID (ZCR) adapter plugs into a motherboard that's already enabled for SAS. The ZCR card has no SAS connectors on it, but operates over the PCI bus enabling the motherboard with RAID functions 0, 1, 5, 10, and 50.
For more information on the SAS interface, visit the InfoStor SAS Resource Center: www.infostor.com/sas/sas_home.cfm.