Adaptec announced its entry into the burgeoning market for Serial ATA products with the introduction of a storage controller ASIC that will serve as the core of a family of Serial ATA controllers and PCI RAID cards, and the industry's first Serial ATA RAID developer's kit, a package that includes a pre-release version of Adaptec's Serial ATA RAID controller to allow OEMs and early adopters to build products incorporating cutting-edge Serial ATA disk drives.
Targeted at the market for sub-entry servers, Adaptec's Serial ATA product line will leverage Adaptec's robust SCSI and RAID technologies to bolster ATA scalability, manageability and reliability.
"Adaptec's new ASIC exemplifies how Serial ATA can be applied beyond the desktop," said Jason Ziller, Intel technology initiatives manager and Serial ATA Working Group chairman. "Market acceptance of ATA in servers continues to increase, and Serial ATA will further enhance the ATA interface for server and networked storage applications."
Research firm Gartner Dataquest projects that Serial ATA hard disk drives will grow from a market of less than 5 million units in 2002 to more than 280 million units in 2005, with Serial ATA becoming the dominant disk drive connection in 2004. Driving this growth will be the increasing availability of Serial ATA host adapters and chip sets and an expanding need for a cost-effective, high-performance interface in both personal computer and enterprise storage markets.
"Sub-entry servers and entry-level external storage will be early adopters of Serial ATA," said Gartner Dataquest analyst Roger Cox. "We expect significant desktop adoption to follow by 2004, a move that will drive cost economies for the broader market."
Adaptec's Serial ATA storage controller provides key features for server applications, including six power-managed ports and an additional hot-spare port, 133MHz PCI-X support, an integrated Serial ATA PHY and Adaptec's innovative Seamless Streaming™ technology, which maximizes PCI-X bus utilization and Serial ATA transfer rates by allowing a Serial ATA target such as a disk drive to stream packets of data with minimum switching time. The ASIC is ideal for a six-drive mirrored solution with a dedicated hot spare and supports up to seven drives in a JBOD or RAID 5 configuration.
The controller also features Adaptec's robust SCSI driver model to smooth the migration path from SCSI to Serial ATA, extend ATA scalability beyond four drives, deliver robust capabilities such as hot plug and hot swap, and leverage existing operating system infrastructures for faster time-to-market. The Serial ATA chip, which is compatible with add-in RAID controller cards for external storage subsystems, will serve as the foundation for a family of Adaptec full-featured PCI RAID products.
"Customers are looking to Adaptec to create Serial ATA solutions that meet the availability needs of entry server and storage applications," said Lee Caswell, vice president and general manager of Adaptec's Storage Solutions Group. "In enterprise markets, parallel SCSI and its replacement, Serial Attached SCSI, will continue to serve environments where reliability and scalability are paramount."
Adaptec's Serial ATA ASIC will begin sampling in Q3 with production in Q4. Pricing in OEM quantities of 100 units is $34 each. Adaptec's Serial ATA RAID developer's kit, to be available in Q2, will include a fully functional pre-release version of the company's 4-port Serial ATA RAID card, which supports the complete feature set of the Adaptec SCSI RAID controller family including RAID levels 0, 1, 1/0 and 5. The kit will also include four 1-meter Serial ATA cables, four hard drive legacy power adapters and a CD that includes drivers for broad operating support, firmware, and SMOR and/or Storage Manager Classic management software.