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Broadcom RAIDs SMB Storage Market

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) is ready to roll out its first RAID adapter products, and in the process it may have found a market it never expected.

Broadcom next week will announce four- and eight-port RAID host-bus adapters (HBAs) based on the SATA controller chip and software acquired when it purchased RaidCore in Feburary (see Broadcom Raids SATA Startup). The company say's it's pursuing the SMB market because it considers it underserved.

"There are no 800-pound gorillas selling RAID solutions into that market, says Mark Taylor, Broadcom’s director of RAID marketing. “We see it open to dominate.”

Broadcom might eventually launch RAID-on-a-chip (ROC) and RAID-on-a-motherboard (ROM) products, but in the meantime it's focused on getting its foot in the door of the RAID adapter market. The current field includes Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT), LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI), Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC), and startup Promise Technology Inc. (See Motherboard Makers Pick Adaptec , HP Opens Patent Division, AMCC Ships New SATA , LSI Logic Unveils Software, SAS HBAs, and LSI Logic Takes Control of SATA.)

Broadcom is taking a different technological approach from the others. Instead of offloading TCP/IP processing from the servers, Broadcom’s software uses the server’s CPU for RAID processing. Broadcom claims its eight-channel SATA-based HBA can perform RAID sequential reads at over 460 Mbyte/s and sequential writes at more than 430 Mbyte/s, and RAID 5 sequential reads at more than 400 Mbyte/s and sequential writes at more than 280 Mbyte/s. Broadcom prices the four-port controller at $289 and the eight-port version at $365.

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