Trebia Readies IP Storage Chips

The start-up will roll out its first IP storage chips on Monday.

Start-up Trebia Networks Inc. will announce the availability of its first IP storage chips on Monday.

The chips will be sold to other storage vendors for component uses; initial customers are LSI Logic Corp. and McData Corp., Trebia officials said in an interview on Friday.

Three versions of the chip, called the SNP-1000, SNP-1000i and SNP-500, respectively, are a TCP/IP-Fibre Channel gateway, a TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) and an iSCSI/TOE processor, said Willie Anderson, vice president of engineering for the Acton, Mass., company.

Trebia, formed in July 2000, has only offered a software development kit so far. The actual chips are "a fairly complex system, and it took a lot of effort" to make them work, he said.

The SNP-1000 is available now for $335 in volume, and the SNP-1000i is available now for $150 in volume. The SNP-500 chip will be available early next year, and its pricing will be announced then, Anderson said.

Even when the SNP-500 model is available, some vendors may prefer the 1000i version, if they dont need the iSCSI processing, he said.

McData Corp., of Bloomfield, Colo., plans to put Trebia chips in its upcoming iSCSI switch cards.

Though some of the Trebia products overlap each other, "its their way of covering the different ways that people are going to deploy IP storage," which should begin next year, said John Webster, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., in Nashua, N.H. "Definitely theres going to be competition from Intel [Corp.], although it looks to me like Intel will want to go another step beyond just chip fabrication and go into modules."

To compete, Trebia, with 65-employees, would "have to figure out the resources to do that," he said.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., has been the only vendor to sell actual IP storage arrays so far, but it cancelled those products shortly after launching them, because of poor sales, changes in the IP specifications security standard, and Cisco Systems Inc.s non-commitment to make its switches completely IP-centric, he said.