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PMC-Sierra doubles performance of SAS controller

Lucas Mearian, Computerworld | June 15, 2011
PMC-Sierra today announced a new serial-attached SCSI (SAS) controller that doubles the throughput between storage devices and their disk arrays, compared with its previous products, offering up to 750,000 I/Os per second (IOPS).

PMC-Sierra today announced a new serial-attached SCSI (SAS) controller that doubles the throughput between storage devices and their disk arrays, compared with its previous products, offering up to 750,000 I/Os per second (IOPS).

PMC's Tachyon SPCv SAS controllers use a PCIe 3.0 interconnect interface and come with either eight or 16 lanes for a total throughput of 6.5GB/sec throughput, according to Andrew Dieckmann, product marketing manager for PMCs Enterprise Storage Division.

controller chips
PMC-Sierra's Tachyon SPCv controller chips

PMC is targeting equipment manufacturers, such as EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett Packard and NetApp, with their product, which resides in the back end of a primary disk storage system, such as EMC's Symmetrix VMAX array or NetApps Fabric Attached Storage products. The controller sits in front of the many shelves of disk drives inside those products.

Dieckmann said the product can also be used in the front end of a lower-end array, as a back-end storage array connected to application servers by the SAS protocol.

"So it can be used as target in front end as well as initiator in back end when talking to the disks," he said.

Controllers, or the internal traffic directors in hardware, are becoming a bottleneck in storage arrays because equipment manufacturers are moving to denser 2.5 in.-drive trays, offering use of solid state drives (SSDs) in their products. In addition, server virtualization is increasing data traffic to backend storage systems.

For example, SSDs can increase IOPS by 100 times compared with traditional hard disk drives, so there is a need for increased performance with enterprise storage systems, he said.

"It is an internal bottleneck with SSD deployments that exists even now," Dieckmann said. "All the I/Os in a storage system have to funnel through a controller at the end of the day."

The PM8008 Tachyon SPCv 8x6G and PM8018 Tachyon SPCv 16x6G controllers are available now to select equipment manufacturers.

 

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