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SATA Startup Ario Nets $17M

Startup Ario Data Networks, which was an early adopter of SATA and stands in a crowded field of suppliers preparing SATA II and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) controllers, today completed a $17 million funding round led by Mellon Ventures (see Ario Pockets $17M).

Ario earlier this month announced its first family of SATA II and SAS controllers, which are expected to show up in systems around the middle of next year (see Ario Extends Controllers). SATA II will double maximum throughput to 3 Gbit/s, and SATA vendors hope the better performance will make SATA II more suitable for primary storage (see Two SATA Specs Completed). So far, most system vendors target SATA drives for disk backup and seldom-accessed storage.

Ario announced its first SATA controller boards in February, and the SATA space has taken off since then (see Ario Hops SATA Train). Indeed, with the announcement today that Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

is offering a SATA option for its Thunder 9500 V systems, all the major SAN system players now offer SATA (see SATA Saturates SANs and Hitachi Launches SATA ).

Ario claims OEM deals with eight vendors, including two unnamed "Tier 1 OEM" subsystem companies.

One analyst says Ario is an appealing option for OEMs because it builds the controller chip into the board so it can offer versions for Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and SAS connectivity. Ario’s in one of the leadership positions among SATA controller vendors,” says Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group. ”Not many vendors have already developed Fibre Channel-to-SATA, or SAS-to-SATA connectivity. Now, how many other players will come along remains to be seen, but Ario is among the leaders now.”

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