Adaptec Introduces New Unified Serial RAID Controllers

The multiport controllers are said to deliver cost-effective connectivity and controls for both high-capacity Serial ATA and Serial Attached SCSI drives.

Data storage infrastructure maker Adaptec has introduced a new set of Unified Serial RAID controllers for the PCI Express interface—including the industrys first 12- and 16-port models.

The five new products include standard four- and eight-port models and are designed for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as media servers, e-mail databases and application servers. These Unified Serial RAID controllers aim to deliver high throughput and improved scalability, a company spokesperson said.

PCI Express, or PCIe, is a system bus that allows expansion cards with various capabilities to be added to a system. A RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) controller is a device that manages the physical units in a storage system and presents them to the administrator as logical units.

Unified Serial RAID controllers enable the use of both SATA (Serial ATA) and SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) disk drives within a system, and they support PCIe host interfaces with up to 256MB of data cache.

The ability to support both SAS and SATA provides a platform for data center managers to store data on different tiers. Storing data on tiers, if implemented correctly, can have significant impact to disk utilization and the cost of capacity.

According to a recent IDC industry report, SATA is expected to account for nearly half of all enterprise disk drive shipments by 2009. But another trend to watch is the growing adoption of SAS, Mark Bowker, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, told eWEEK.

"SAS has big advantages over previous SCSI technologies, including greater bandwidth, support for high-performance drives and compatibility with SATA drives," Bowker said.

"SAS is a point-to-point architecture that supports single-lane data transport rates of 3GB per second, and up to four lanes can be aggregated on a single cable to achieve transfer rates of 12G bps, which really eliminates most performance bottlenecks associated with bandwidth. IT departments with shrinking budgets will appreciate that SAS protocol natively supports both SAS and SATA protocols," Bowker said.

However, SAS is still emerging and has a long way to go, Bowker said.

"There arent a large number of SAS products in the market today, and those that do exist dont completely leverage the stated capabilities and scalability of SAS. That doesnt mean they arent valuable, but they are first-generation solutions that will continue to add value over time," Bowker said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the benefits of SAS.

The new family of Adaptec Unified Serial controllers enable enterprises to connect to high-performance SAS drives or both types of drives in the same system, simply by swapping out the drives. The controllers are compatible and fully supported by more than 270 third-party systems and devices, said Suresh Panikar, director of marketing for the Data Protection Solutions Group at Adaptec, in Milpitas, Calif.

"We continue to make it easier for our reseller and system builder partners to do business with Adaptec," Panikar said. "Partners can standardize on one vendor who has the broadest product line of low- and high-port Unified Serial RAID controllers for PCI-X and now, new low-profile models for PCIe."

Adaptec sells its controllers to such major suppliers as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun Microsystems, NEC, and others, Panikar told eWEEK.

The Adaptec Unified Serial RAID controllers support array sizes up to 512TB, and they utilize the Adaptec Storage Manager, a next-generation storage management package that optimizes RAID data volumes for disk utilization, provisioning, diagnostics and storage expansion.

The new Adaptec RAID 3405 (4-port), 3805 (8-port), 3085 (8-port), 31205 (12-port), and 31605 (16-port) controllers will be shipping and available through distribution partners and resellers on March 30. Pricing is $445 for the 3405; $575 for the 3805; $745 for the 3085; $795 for the 31205; and $995 for the 31605.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...