AMCC Answers Call With RAID 6

The SATA RAID 6 controller minimizes write-speed performance penalties, doubling throughput.

With the use of RAID 6 double-parity large storage arrays growing, Applied Micro Circuits has launched its high-performance 3ware 9650SE SATA II RAID controller family.

The AMCC 3ware 9650SE family is being offered in 2, 4 and 8-port low-profile and 12, 16 and 24-port full-height configurations.

All models except the 24 port will be available Nov. 1 through AMCCs worldwide network of distributors, integrators and VARs.

The 24-port model will be available in early 2007. Prices for the 4-port configuration start at $395 and range to $995 for the 16-port model.

By calculating the dual parity simultaneously, AMCC, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., claims it was able to reduce the RAID 6 write penalty common among throughout the technology and double throughput.

While RAID 6 read operations occur as fast as the more widely used RAID 5, write operations suffer from the additional overhead created by its separate but duplicate parity calculations.

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RAID 6 is best suited for arrays with large numbers of SATA (serial ATA) hard drives, since the loss of any one drive represents a smaller piece of the overall array.

According to AMCC officials, the new controllers achieve RAID 6 read-operation speeds exceeding 700MB per second and write speeds of more than 600MB per second.

The PCI Express-to-SATA II RAID controllers will be available in models ranging from two to 24 ports.

The double-drive failure protection of RAID 6 is ideal for the high capacity of SATA drives and the arrays being assembled from them in enterprise applications, according to analyst David Hill of the Mesabi Group.

Eliminating any significant performance penalty makes RAID 6 and SATA a compelling solution for customers requiring enterprise performance and reliability, he said.

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