LSI Lines Up iSCSI Mates

Plans to ship iSCSI RAID card in May and says Dell, HP, others are waiting in the wings

March 5, 2003

3 Min Read
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LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI) announced today that its iSCSI RAID card will ship in May and that it expects OEM partners to introduce storage subsystems based on this technology as soon as the third quarter of this year (see LSI Debuts IP SAN Controllers).

Dubbed iMegaRAID, LSI's iSCSI card plugs into a simple JBOD (just a bunch of disks) and converts it to an intelligent iSCSI target array. The controller makes its debut just as the iSCSI market is beginning to brighten up. The specification, which allows SCSI commands to run over IP networks, has been through a brutal 18 months weathering the downturn in the economy and the ensuing IT spending crunch (see iSCSI Gets Go-Ahead and iSCSI in Exile).

The standard was finally ratified last month, and now several major players have thrown their weight behind it (see NetApp Blitzes on iSCSI, HP Kisses NAS, Nods to iSCSI, Adaptec Rallies Around iSCSI, and IP Storage Has a Pulse).

"The market has been lacking the target solution," says Ken Zarrabi, senior research marketing manager at LSI. "There are loads of HBAs out there, but that's not what the OEMs are looking for... By combining RAID with iSCSI we have the piece they are looking for."

Zarrabi says LSI has timed the release of its iSCSI card to line up with the projects of its OEM customers. The company licenses its MegaRAID cards, of which it has shipped 2 million to date, to vendors including Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), Gateway Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and Unisys (NYSE: UIS). It's logical to assume these companies are interested in LSI's iSCSI cards too, Zarrabi says, but he declined to give specific details on OEM plans.Meanwhile, LSI's Asian OEMs -- which include Acer Inc., Fujitsu Ltd. (KLS: FUJI.KL), Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA), NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY), and Toshiba Corp. -- are also said to be interested in the technology.

The iMegaRAID product is aimed at the low end and midrange of the market for organizations currently using direct-attached storage (DAS). "The objective is to let OEMs move these companies from DAS to IP SANs with iSCSI," Zarrabi says. "Later on, it may find its way into the data center to coexist with Fibre Channel."

LSI says the cost of implementing an iSCSI SAN using iMegaRAID and JBOD storage is as much as one-twentieth the cost (or between 5 percent and 8 percent) of the same storage in a DAS model. And just how does that work out? The company says it plans to release a white paper detailing the cost analysis soon.

According to LSI, another driver of iSCSI SANs will be Serial ATA disks, intended to provide high reliability and performance features similar to SCSI and Fibre Channel drives but at significantly lower cost. "ISCSI-to-Serial ATA is pretty hot," says Zarrabi. "OEMs are calling, asking for our status on this." He says to stay tuned for more announcements in this space (see Western Digital Hatches Raptor).

Meanwhile, the results of Byte and Switch's poll on iSCSI

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