Adaptec puts ZMCP on RAID controllers

By Dave Simpson

– In an effort to decrease the hassles, and environmental issues, associated with traditional RAID controllers while improving data protection, Adaptec today introduced a technology that eliminates the lithium ion battery modules found on most PCI-based RAID controllers.

Called Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP, pronounced "zemcap"), the technology is implemented on a Zero-Maintenance Module (ZMM) that comes attached to Adaptec's Series 5 RAID controllers, now dubbed the Series 5Z.

The Series 5Z is based on the existing Series 5 Unified Serial (supporting SAS and SATA drives) RAID controllers, and essentially has the same "speeds and feeds," but the ZMCP module replaces the lithium ion battery traditionally used to protect DRAM cache memory.

"We’re taking the headaches, monitoring, management and disposal issues associated with lithium ion batteries out of the equation," says Scott Cleland, Adaptec's director of marketing. He notes that lithium ion batteries typically have only a one-year warranty and need replacing every year or two, and they require an inventory of replacement stock. In addition, the batteries' charge capacity and performance degrade over time.

In contrast, according to Cleland, the 4GB NAND flash-based ZMCP (powered by super capacitors) can protect data stored in the controller cache for up to 10 years, and it eliminates the installation, monitoring, maintenance, disposal and replacement costs associated with "non-green" battery-based units. In addition, ZMCP protects cached data in about one minute by transferring data from DRAM to flash memory.

Acknowledging that the solid-state ZMCP technology adds costs to the controller, Cleland claims that the technology pays for itself in about a year, and users can save approximately $600 per controller over four years in maintenance, replacement and disposal costs.

The Series 5Z RAID controllers are available in three models:

--5405Z (four internal ports, $785)
--5805Z (eight internal ports, $965)
--5445Z (four internal and four external ports, $1,045)

All of the controllers come with Adaptec Storage Manager (ASM) software and Intelligent Power Management (IPM) technology.

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This article was originally published on June 24, 2009