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Intel, Emulex Join at the Chip

PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World Spring 2003 -- In an unusual joint development deal for Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), the chipmaker is teaming up with Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) to create a family of storage controller processors for Fibre Channel, Serial ATA (SATA), and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) that will share a common development interface (see Intel, Emulex Develop Storage Chips).

The agreement, announced yesterday at SNW, will pool intellectual property and engineering personnel from both companies. No financial details were disclosed, but Intel and Emulex say no material licensing revenue is expected from the deal. The companies promise delivery of their first jointly developed products in 2004 but aren't providing any details of what those will look like (or what they'll be named).

Emulex will develop protocol controller hardware, firmware, and drivers; Intel will bring its low-power XScale processors -- designed for embedded applications -- to the party and will also manufacture the chips using its 90-nanometer process technology.

"What's really notable is that Intel is allowing, for the first time, an embedded XScale into a design outside of Intel," says Sean Lavey, senior research analyst at IDC.

Emulex will sell the resulting FC products, while Intel will sell the SATA and SAS chips. But the larger goal is for both players to entice storage OEMs with the fact that the family of chips will have a common development interface: The chips will use Emulex's Service Level Interface (SLI) across all three disk interfaces. That can allow storage systems vendors to get to market and more easily reuse their code.

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