RAID controllers proliferate

RAID controllers proliferate

Virtually all of the major RAID controller manufacturers introduced, or showed for the first time, new controllers at last month`s Comdex show. Most of the products were based on the Ultra160 SCSI, Ultra3 SCSI and Fibre Channel interfaces.

For example, American Megatrends Inc. (AMI)--recently named the leading independent manufacturer of RAID controllers by Dataquest--highlighted its MegaRAID Explorer 500 Fibre Channel-to-LVD SCSI external RAID controller. Based on a 64-bit Intel i960RN processor and 64-bit bus architecture, the controller comes in a 3.5-inch form factor with two FC-AL channels for host connections and two Ultra2 LVD SCSI channels for drive connections. Cache ranges up to 128MB of ECC SDRAM. Features include on-line capacity expansion, RAID level migration, automatic setup/configuration, and monitoring. www.ami.com.

Chaparral Network Storage added two external SCSI RAID controllers to its G-Series, both based on the 160MBps Ultra160 SCSI interface. The G6313 includes one host channel and three device channels, providing a sustained sequential data transfer rate of 140MBps and support for up to 45 drives. The G6322 has two host channels and two device channels; support for up to 30 drives; a sustained data transfer rate of 180MBps; and an active-active failover design with hot-pluggable controllers.

Chaparral also introduced the G7324, an external RAID controller with two Fibre Channel host channels and four Ultra160 SCSI device channels. With an active-active failover design, the G7324 provides more than 180MBps, or 15,000 I/Os per second. All of the new G-Series controllers will be available in the first quarter. www.chaparralnet.com.

CMD Technology previewed its CRD-7240 Ultra160 SCSI-to-Fibre Channel RAID controller, which is scheduled for production shipments in April. The dual-redundant controller features LUN masking (or mapping); automatic failover and fail-back; and online RAID level migration and firmware updates. The CRD-7240 includes two Fibre Channel host interfaces, four Ultra160 SCSI LVD interfaces; up to 1GB of cache; and support for as many as 56 drives. The controller will be packaged in a full-height 5.25-inch canister, or as a board-level product for OEMs. www.cmd.com.

Targeting high-performance applications, Digi-Data`s Fibre Sabre 2100 family provides more than 95MBps in a configuration with one Fibre Channel host connection and five disk drives. The controllers come in a variety of configurations, with one or two Fibre Channel host channels, six Wide Ultra2 SCSI LVD disk channels, a 64-bit, 66MHz memory bus rated at 528MBps, multiple RAID levels (including RAID 3), active-active or active-passive designs, and support for up to 90 SCSI disk drives and 256MB of SDRAM cache. www.digidata.com.

Recently acquired by Adaptec, Distributed Processing Technology (DPT) highlighted its PCI-based SmartRAID VI controllers at Comdex. The PCI-based Ultra160 SCSI devices can be upgraded to support Fibre Channel. The Decade version of the controllers includes an Intel i960 RISC processor, one to four Ultra160 SCSI channels, 4MB to 128MB of cache, and support for cyclic redundancy check (CRC) and domain validation. www.dpt.com.

ICP vortex demonstrated its 64-bit, PCI-based Wide Ultra2 SCSI RAID controllers, which are available with optional clustering support. Part of the company`s RN series, the controllers come with one to five Ultra2 SCSI channels, each connecting as many as 15 devices. Features include an Intel i960RN RISC CPU, 16MB to 128MB of cache, online capacity expansion, and online RAID level migration. www.icp-vortex.com.

Also at Comdex, Mylex (recently acquired by IBM) demonstrated several new RAID controllers, including Ultra160 and PCI-to-Fibre Channel models (see InfoStor, November, p. 46).


This article was originally published on December 01, 1999