Sunday, April 15, 2007

PMC pushes SAS pedal to the metal

PMC-Sierra appears to be first out the gate with serial-attached SCSI silicon running at the 6 Gbit/second data rate of the SAS 2.0 spec. But its not clear what real value the company will get for pushing the pedal down on its Tachyon controllers purchased from Agilent a year ago, besides brief bragging rights. Four or five other controllers are expected out in the fall, at least for testing at the SAS 2.0 plugfest sponsored by the SCSI Trade Association.

STA expects the full "eco-system" of SAS 2.0 products--including drives, cards and controllers-—won't be widely available until next year, setting up the first 6G-enabled systems for early 2009. In the meantime, PMC hopes its chips can help consolidate electronics and bolster some management features in 3G SAS arrays and server blades.

STA president Harry Mason said the SAS 2.0 spec will not enable new kinds of systems so much as help expand the capabilities of existing servers and storage systems. As the author of the interconnect blog, I loved his response to my question about the impact of 6G.

"More and more it seems like systems availability is tied to the performance of the interconnects," he said. Amen!

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