AMCC, Maxtor Give Mac Users a Taste of Storage

AMCC provides Macworld Expo attendees with an early glimpse of the company's first Macintosh product, while Maxtor throws its hat into the ring with Mac support for its new Maxtor Shared Storage Plus.

Establishing a foothold within the largely untapped Macintosh platform storage arena, Applied Micro Circuits Corp. and Maxtor Corp. have rolled out new Serial ATA II-based RAID and backup offerings at Macworld Expo this week.

At the Macworld conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, AMCC provided attendees with an early glimpse of the companys first Macintosh product—the new 3ware Sidecar external RAID controller targeted at Apple Computers PowerMac G5 Quad workstation.

The SATA II RAID product is on tap for release toward the end of next quarter.

Capable of supporting up to 2TB, the 3ware Sidecar will feature a 4-bay enclosure without drives, an external SATA multi-line 4 x connector cable, PCI Express card, documentation, and the seventh generation of AMCCs StorSwitch software, hardware and firmware architecture.

That package will be available for under $1,000, according to Michael Joyce, director of marketing, Storage, for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMCC.

The new RAID controller is designed to satisfy large file high-performance and high-bandwidth applications such as video-on demand, video production, video capture and audio production in wide usage among the Macintosh install base.

Functions include online capacity expansion enabling disk drives to be added on the fly, RAID level migration, hot swap support, and extent notification and logging.

Joyce said that AMCC is trying to fill the gap between previous Macintosh storage options, for example Apples Fibre Channel Xserve RAID and Mac desktop single-drive removable media usually connected by Firewire.

Fibre Channel can be as much as three to five times more expensive than SATA II offering the same storage capacity, and Firewire runs at wire speeds up of 800M bps leading to performance and capacity limitations, he noted.

Users such as Stephen Burch, sound engineer for San Jose, Calif.-based Maya Productions, admit that storage vendors have not stepped up toward the increasingly complex storage needs of Macintosh customers.

"I definitely feel that [vendors are not doing enough]. There are solutions, but theyre so high-end youre spending thousands and thousands of dollars" for enterprise-like storage tools.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about a newspapers efforts to back up its Mac-based data.

Burch, who runs Macintoshs ProTools for his organizations recording software, has been kicking the tires on AMCCs 3ware Sidecar external RAID offering in his production studio and so far says he is impressed with its backup and redundancy capabilities.

"As clients come in, sometimes Ill have 12-hour [recording] sessions, and you dont think always to back up or copy your data. Ive had cases sometimes at the end of the day where the hard drive just goes," Burch said.

"With something like the [AMCC] Sidecar, not only do I get [improved] throughput, but if Im recording and a drive fails, I dont lose any data, so it saves my time and clients time and definitely saves a lot of money."

Previously, Burch relied upon an external hard drive that required manual backup to copy over data.

In terms of improvements, he said he would like AMCC to increase the Sidecars cable size, which is currently limited to just 3 meters.

Maxtor also threw its hat into the Macintosh ring at Macworld this week by announcing that its new Maxtor Shared Storage Plus with Mac support will be shipping in February.

The drive allows Mac users to share and automatically back up files, video, digital photos, and other types of content into a centralized location on a home or small office network.

Last month, Seagate Technology announced it will acquire Milpitas, Calif.-based Maxtor in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.9 billion.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2006.

Featuring capacities ranging from 200 to 500GB, Maxtor Shared Storage Plus with Mac support will be priced at $299.95 for the 200GB drive, $399.95 for the 300GB drive, and $499.95 for the 500GB drive.

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