SAS product highlights

By the InfoStor staff

Here’s a quick sampling of some of the SAS products that went into production shipments over the last couple of months, with a focus on products targeted primarily at the channel.

This month, Promise Technology introduced the newest members of its SAS/SATA RAID controllers-the 4-port SuperTrak EX4650, 8-port SuperTrak EX8650, and the FastTrak TX2650 and FastTrak TX4650, which are software-based SAS RAID cards. The hardware-based SuperTrak EX RAID internal controllers are powered by an Intel 81348 I/O processor and support RAID 5 and RAID 6 (dual parity). The software-based FastTrak TX controllers are based on Promise’s ASICs and support RAID 0 and RAID 1. All of the controllers support SAS and SATA disk drives, as well as the PCIe host interface.

Adaptec is shipping a variety of SAS/SATA RAID controllers in its “Unified Serial” family of PCIe cards, including the 4-port 3405, 8-port 3805, 12-port 31205, and 16-port 31605. Common features include support for virtually all RAID levels (0, 1, 1E, 5, 5EE, 6, 10, 50, and 60) and JBOD, a Copyback Hot Spare feature, 128MB or 256MB of cache, Adaptec RAID Code (ARC) software, up to 60GB of capacity, and an optional Snapshot Backup feature.


The latest addition to AMCC’s line of 3ware 9690SA SAS controllers is the 9690SA-4I4E, which has four internal ports, four external ports, and an x8 PCIe host connection. The low-profile card supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and 50 and includes 512MB of onboard memory. AMCC is also shipping the 9690SA-8I (eight internal ports) and 9690SA-8E (eight external ports). All of the 9690SA controllers are based on AMCC’s StorSwitch non-blocking switched architecture.

Arena Maxtronic’s SS-4551E (dual 4Gbps Fibre Channel host ports) and SS-4552E (3Gbps SAS host ports) are 2U, 12-drive RAID systems that support both SAS and SATA drives and include up to 4GB of cache. The disk arrays can be expanded with up to four SAS JBOD enclosures and support virtually all RAID levels, including RAID 6, with the ability to have multiple RAID levels and stripe sizes in a single disk group. Other features include online RAID level and stripe-size migration, disk group expansion, volume management, and disk group defragmentation

Enhance Technology is shipping a variety of SAS-ready subsystems, including the EnhanceRAID T5 IP and T8 IP, both of which have iSCSI front-end connections, support for either SATA or SAS drives, all RAID levels, including (optionally) RAID 6, and a 500MHz, 64-bit Intel 80331 storage processor. Other options include snapshots and n-way mirroring.

The most recent additions to Infortrend’s SAS-SAS RAID arrays include the single-controller EonStor (ES) S16S-G1030 and the redundant-controller S16S-R1030. Both 3U, 16-bay arrays come with four SAS hosts ports, with 12Gbps bandwidth per port, and can support both SAS and SATA disk drives. An expansion port enables connectivity to as many as four ES S16S-J1000 JBOD arrays for up to 80TB of total capacity in the single-controller version or 64TB (with three JBOD arrays) in the dual-controller version when populated with 1TB SATA drives. All RAID levels, including RAID-6, are supported.

The Xtore division of Advanced Industrial Computer (AIC) is shipping a variety of SAS/SATA subsystems and enclosures. For example, the XJ 100 SAS JBOD Series is available in five-drive (model XJ-SA12-005) or 10-drive (model XJ-SA12-010) versions with support for RAID 5 and RAID 6, 1,200MBps (4 x 3Gbps) throughput, up to 10TB of capacity per enclosure, up to 120 drives with expansion units, SAS and/or SATA drives, and support for SCSI Enclosure Service (SES) for status monitoring and in-band firmware updates.

Targeted at server and storage OEMs, Xyratex’s OneStor SP1424s Extensible Storage Platform (ESP) supports up to 24TB of tiered SAS and SATA capacity in a 4U rack-mount enclosure. Capacity can scale to 96TB. The arrays include dual 3Gbps SAS host connections with data-path redundancy. A developer’s kit enables OEMs to design custom “personality modules,” such as server blades, RAID controllers, and NAS devices.

Atto Technology entered the SAS adapter market with the ExpressSAS R348 (internal) and R380 (external) RAID adapters. The adapters use Atto’s Advanced Data Streaming (ADS) technology and 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. The cards support both SAS and SATA drives.

In addition to supporting virtually all RAID levels, the adapters support Atto’s DV RAID, which is designed to accelerate performance in streaming media applications such as high-definition digital video editing.

The low-profile cards include x8 PCIe-to-SAS/SATA interfaces. 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 the ExpressSAS adapters include support for up to 32 physical drives and 128 logical drives, 256MB of ECC SDRAM, and compatibility with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Ciprico has demonstrated a storage system that exceeded 2.2GBps of throughput, based on the IOMeter benchmark program, in a configuration that included its RC5252-08 RAIDCore SAS/ SATA PCI Express host bus adapter (HBA); RC5152-08 RAIDCore SAS/ SATA PCI-X HBA; MV5108SR MediaVault disk array with 24 15,000rpm, 147GB Ultrastar 15K300SAS drives from Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST); and an MSI dual quad-core Intel motherboard.

Molex recently began shipping a SAS 2.0-compliant, 6Gbps iPass interconnect system that includes a host board, backplane connectors, and cable assemblies (up to 10 meters). The external iPass version includes an SMT host connector, EMI guide frame assembly, and 4x external cable assembly. The internal versions include right angle and vertical SMT connectors with hoods and cable assemblies.

LeCroy recently enhanced its traffic-generating emulators for the SAS and SATA protocols. The emulators, which run on the STX-460 test platform, enable developers to generate traffic at 6Gbps speeds. Enhancements include support for connection multiplexing (which is part of the SAS specification) for hosts and devices, SMP commands, and emulation of two hosts or two drives simultaneously.

On the chip front, Aristos Logic is shipping to OEMs a multi-protocol chip-the AL3450 UltraSlice-MPx-which supports the SAS, SATA, and Fibre Channel protocols, and the PCI-X host interface. Part of Aristos’ RAID Storage Processor (RSP) family, the AL3450 supports 4Gbps Fibre Channel and 3Gbps SAS and includes pipelined RISC processors.

LSI, Intel expand SAS/SATA RAID deal

LSI and Intel last month announced an expansion of their existing OEM agreement covering SAS/SATA products, including LSI’s RAID-On-Chip (ROC) and MegaRAID product lines-both existing 3Gbps and future 6Gbps products. The two companies have partnered since 2003.

Specifically, Intel will sell to its channel partners LSI’s SAS1078 and future 6Gbps SAS ROC and MegaRAID products in conjunction with Intel’s quad-core Xeon 5400 series of processors. By the end of this quarter, Intel will add four LSI SAS/SATA controllers and one system board to its portfolio.

Intel is shipping a variety of RAID-On-Chip (ROC) controllers for SAS/SATA configurations. The SRCSASJV (“Jordan Valley”) is an x8 PCI Express-compatible processor with eight ports for internal or external connectivity. The SRCSASRB (“Rocky Butte”) RAID controller supports SAS and SATA drives, as well as SATA native command queuing (NCQ) and 256MB of 667MHz write cache. The SRCSATAWB is an entry-level controller with support for 16 drives and expander-based backplanes. The controllers support all RAID levels, including RAID 6.

LSI’s most recent subsystem-level SAS-related product announcement was the Simplicity 1532 array, which has four iSCSI host connections and 12 to 48 SAS (300GB) or SATA (750GB) drives, for a total capacity of 36TB.

HP puts SAS on tape drives

Hewlett-Packard introduced two tape drives with SAS interfaces late last year: the StorageWorks LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 and the StorageWorks DAT160.

Available with either Ultra320 SCSI or SAS interfaces, the LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 has up to 1.6TB per cartridge, hardware-based encryption, compression, support for WORM media, a data-transfer rate of up to 240MBps, and data-rate matching (DRM) technology.

The half-height DAT160 tape drive, which is based on DDS technology, has a native SAS interface, up to 160MB of compressed capacity, and a transfer rate of up to 50GB per hour (assuming 2:1 compression).



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This article was originally published on January 01, 2008