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Silverback Makes iSCSI Howl

Storage processor startup Silverback Systems Inc. claims its iSCSI acceleration chip delivers 92,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS) through a single Gigabit Ethernet port -- another positive proof point for the emerging IP storage technology (see Silverback Claims 92,000 IOPS).

If Silverback number's check out, its chip would put iSCSI on a par with Fibre Channel in terms of raw performance. Silverback's chip handles processing-intensive tasks involved in transmitting storage over TCP/IP networks, including upper-layer protocols like iSCSI.

"We think this level of performance will move iSCSI to the next level," says Ron Kroesen, VP of marketing and sales at Silverback.

At 92,000 IOPS, a standard industry measure of data throughput, Silverback's chip would actually exceed the top end of the Fibre Channel performance spectrum. QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), for example, says the latest generation of its dual-port 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel single-chip controllers, the ISP2332, is able to handle 160,000 IOPS, or 80,000 IOPS per port (see QLogic Touts Next-Gen Controller).

Silverback's news comes amid a groundswell of iSCSI activity. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) last month officially ratified the first version of the spec, which had been three years in the works. Shortly thereafter, Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) announced a free iSCSI software option for its storage systems; and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has set a June delivery date for its Windows iSCSI drivers (see Microsoft to Unleash iSCSI).

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