By Dave Simpson
—Claiming performance advantages over some of its more well-known competitors, Atto Technology this week entered the Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) adapter market with the ExpressSAS R348 (internal) and R380 (external) RAID adapters. The company also launched its SAS Advantage channel program for VARs and integrators targeting high-throughput environments such as digital video.
Atto officials attribute the adapters' speed in part to the company's proprietary Advanced Data Streaming (ADS) technology and the use of Intel's 800MHz IOP348 I/O processors for PCIe hosts. The company claims a throughput rate of up to 903MBps in a RAID-5 configuration with 256KB transfers across 12 3.5-inch SAS drives, or 979MBps with 4MB transfers.
Like all SAS adapters, the ExpressSAS cards support both 3Gbps SAS and Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives, although few users or integrators are expected to use both drive types in the same enclosure. (For more information, see "SAS: The new kid on the I/O block.")
In addition to virtually all standard RAID levels, the adapters support Atto's DV RAID, which is designed to accelerate performance in streaming media applications such as high-definition (HD) digital video editing.
The cards feature a native (as opposed to bridged) PCIe implementation with x8 PCIe-to-SAS/SATA interfaces and come in a low-profile form factor. The R348 has user-configurable internal port options with x4 Mini-SAS connectors (eight internal, or four internal and four external), and the R380 has eight external ports (two x4 Mini-SAS connectors).
Other features of Atto's ExpressSAS adapters include support for up to 32 physical drives and 128 logical drives, 256MB of ECC SDRAM, and support for Windows, Linux (Red Hat and SuSE), and Mac OS X platforms. Support for NetWare, Solaris, and FreeBSD is in development.
The ExpressSAS adapters will compete primarily with SAS-SATA adapters from vendors such as Adaptec (4800 series) and LSI Logic (8300 ELP series).
MSRP for the adapters is $1,095.
For more info about SAS, go to our SAS Resource Center.