The new season for RAID controllers is under way with this year's models sporting increased port densities, greater overall storage capacity and increased throughput for higher bandwidth applications.
Topping the list is Adaptec's new Series 5 controller boasting 24 internal and four external ports that can provide seamless connectivity for up to 256 SATA or SAS drives for a maximum capacity of 200 TB. The system uses the Intel IOP348 I/O processor that provides a core speed of 1.2 GHz. Adaptec says it was also able to integrate its Unified Serial Architecture platform onto the chip to boost performance even further.
Promise Technology has added external connectivity to its SuperTrak line of controllers in what the company says is a concerted effort to provide seamless protection across the entire data center. The company's new SuperTrak EX 8658 offers eight external ports, while the EX 8654 has four internal and four external ports. Both systems support RAID 5 and 6 and are available for the company's 12- or 16-bay JBOD expansion chassis.
Meanwhile, over at the CeBIT trade show in Germany, Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) is showing off new capabilities of its 3ware controllers. In one demonstration, the company showed how its 9690SA device can support consolidated, virtual environments by using an LSI SAS expander to tap into the VMware platform. Also new are a caching algorithm on the 9650 controller called Advanced Content Streaming designed for sequential data applications like video processing, and support for Mac OS X on the SAS and SATA versions of the 9690.
AMCC is also touting new firmware for the 9690 said to increase performance some 40 percent through enhancements for third-party SAS expanders and hard drives. The system extends compatibility to SuperMicro's 12- and 16-drive SAS and SATA chassis, which also support the Seagate Barracuda ES drives.
RAID controllers may not be the sexiest pieces of enterprise technology in this age of multicore processing and virtualization, but they do represent one of the underpinnings of modern storage networking that is coming under increasing pressure for improved speed and reliability. As data volumes continue to grow, all network elements should be in top form.