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PMC Dips 4-Gig FC Chips

PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS) has become the first silicon provider to announce availability of 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel chips -- but it's not clear yet whether the technology will make its way into SAN fabrics (see PMC-Sierra Debuts 4-Gig FC Chips).

There are two different markets PMC-Sierra is targeting for its 4-Gig chips: for internal connectivity inside storage arrays to connect to 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel drives; and for external SAN connectivity among servers, switches, and storage arrays. Of these two areas, the intra-array play is more or less a sure bet, while 4-Gig FC as a SAN interconnect is less certain (see 4-Gig Fireworks, FC Fires Up 4-Gig Fiesta, and Fibre Channel SANs: 4G or Not 4G?).

"Customers in both segments are eager to have their products ready for 4 Gig, but until now they haven't had devices to do that with," says Mark Stibitz, VP and general manager of the company's enterprise storage division.

PMC-Sierra claims it's the first to deliver 4-Gbit/s FC chips, which are pin-compatible with the 2-Gbit/s FC products it introduced in April (see PMC Goes Loopy). Stibitz says the company was able to leverage the physical layer technology from the 2-Gig design. "They are the same devices running at 4-Gig," he says.

The company's 4-port PM8377 and 18-port PM8369 PBC port bypass controllers support 4.25-Gbit/s Fibre Channel disk enclosure applications. In addition, PMC-Sierra is sampling the PM8386 QuadPHY 4GFC four-channel CMOS SerDes for Fibre Channel fabric switch and host bus adapter applications.

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