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New RAID Controllers And HBAs Go For Speed

Storage silicon maker LSI unveiled a series of new RAID controllers and host bus adapters for SAS, SATA and SSD drives. Encompassing 10 new products in all, the news includes the company's first entry level 6GB/s MegaRAID controllers, LSI host-bus adapters that can handle as many as 1,024 external devices, and a new family of 3ware 6GB/s RAID-on-chip boards designed to deliver sustained read and write performance for applications that require sequential storage.

The new 3ware boards mean companies can offer storage systems for customers with high-bandwidth requirements using fewer drives. "There's a certain performance threshold when increasing the spindle count, but with a faster interface, you might not need as many disks," says Ken Hostetler, director of product management at Silicon Mechanics, which builds made-to-order rackmount server, storage and cluster computing products.

At the top of the performance heap is LSI's 3ware 9750, a new family of SATA and SAS RAID controllers that are based on 6GB/s SAS technology. LSI says the cards are ideal for sequential I/O and multi-stream environments, such as streaming and archival applications. "When you double the throughput on the chip and its interface, things get faster...[with] more video streams, faster backups," says Tom Kodet, LSI's worldwide channel product marketing manager.

LSI's 3ware 9750 series is rated to deliver a 2.5GB/s transfer rate for sequential reads, 1.1GB/s for sequential writes and will interoperate with older boards. The 9750 series is available in 4- and 8-port configurations starting at US$385. The company's MegaRAID series SATA/SAS controller cards are now available with a 6GB/s interface starting at $229, and sell in four- or eight-port configurations for internal or internal/external applications.

If spindles are your thing, LSI has introduced the SAS 9200-16e, a 16-port SATA/SAS host bus adapter (HBA) that can handle as many as 1,024 physical devices. "There are many things you can do with a faster interface, but in the back is how many drives can I connect to the chassis," says Silicon Mechanics' Hostetler. "HBAs tell me how dense I can get." The 16-port HBA retails for $619. All 10 of LSI's new boards are available now.