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SAS Shows Its Face

Serial-attached SCSI (SAS) vendors are maneuvering for position ahead of an anticipated crush of product launches later this year and early in 2006.

In the past week or so, weve seen announcements for SAS on blade servers as well as combined SATA/SAS enclosures -- two kinds of products that will push SAS storage. At the moment, SAS is primarily used in servers.

The announcements cover chips, disk drives, and controllers and will almost certainly be followed by similar products. Here's a rundown:

    PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS) today announced 24- and 36-port expander switch chips for blade servers, including zoning specifications developed with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) to provide partitioning, security policies, policy management, and compatibility with SAS controllers, HBAs, and disk arrays (see PMC-Sierra Expands SAS ).

    Travis Karr, PMC-Sierra’s enterprise storage division marketing director, says he thinks his company has at least a six-month lead over rivals LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI) and Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) for developing expanders for blade servers, although he doesn’t expect product to ship through OEMs until the second quarter of 2006.

    But PMC-Sierra is chasing LSI on the server front. While PMC-Sierra has not announced any SAS design wins -- although HP is a good candidate -- LSI recently lined up OEM deals with Fujitsu Siemens Computers and HP (see HP Integrates LSI Logic SAS and LSI Powers Fujitsu Siemens Platforms). LSI also added SAS support to its MyStorage HBA management software earlier this month in anticipation of SAS ramping in SANs (see LSI Enhances MyStorage Software). Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS)
    has not announced any design wins yet for its SAS expanders either, but the company expects to be shipping through OEMs around October (see Vitesse Expands SAS).

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