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Ario Hops SATA Train

Theres still room aboard the serial ATA (SATA) bandwagon, but space is filling up fast.

With that in mind, startup Ario Data Networks
jumped aboard today, announcing a family of SATA controller boards with chips and software emulation built in.

Ario, based on San Jose, Calif., is trying for an early jump on controller chip companies such as Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT), Promise Technology Inc., RaidCore Inc.,

3ware Inc., and
VIA Technologies Inc. Its claim to fame is that its controller chip is built right into its board, which comes in versions for Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and Ultra 320 SCSI connectivity (see SATA Suppliers Ready for Onslaught).

“They seem to be a little ahead of the game,” says Enterprise Management Associates senior analyst Mike Karp. “It’s a matter of time until others catch up, but time to market is everything here.”

Ario’s chance of success depends on whether OEMs embrace its technology. One thing in its favor is that all of Ario's boards contain the same ASICs, firmware, and layout; only chips supporting various interfaces, such as iSCSI and Fibre Channel, are changed. That makes its easier for OEMs to qualify the boards and keeps down production costs.

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