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Marvell Enters Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Storage Controller Market

Marvell is no stranger to business-oriented, performance storage solutions, so it does not come as a surprise to see them launch a SAS controller.

Marvell, a storage, communications, and consumer silicon solutions company, announced its entrance into the Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) storage controller market by offering host and RAID controller silicon and software solutions for workstations, servers, and external storage systems. Marvell's new SAS controllers will complement the Company's strong market presence in the Serial ATA (SATA) host controller market, and will offer high performance coupled with a significant reduction in both power consumption and footprint versus other solutions. Marvell will be the only silicon provider to offer a true end-to-end solution for both SAS and SATA host controllers and hard disk drive (HDD) electronics.

At the core of Marvell's SAS controller offerings is Marvell's industry-leading PHY technology. Marvell's first generation of SAS products incorporates Marvell's 3 gigabit per second (Gb/s) SAS/SATA PHY technology and 2.5Gb/s PCI-Express PHY cores, which combine the best jitter performance, and lowest per-port power consumption available today. Marvell's SAS/SATA PHYs enable host-to-disk connectivity over longer traces and cable lengths than competitive solutions. Now OEMs can finally take full advantage of the same capability already offered in Marvell's enterprise HDD ICs, enabling the design of more advance storage systems.

With up to eight of these PHYs on a single chip, low power consumption is necessary to maintain a small footprint and to avoid the need for costly and bulky heat sinks. Further, power savings are critical as the IT industry focuses on data center power budgets in order to manage costs and satisfy environmental concerns. Marvell's footprint is as little as one third the size of competitive solutions, making its controllers ideal for server RAID on motherboard (ROMB), and half-height board-level host adapter and RAID controller solutions.

"Marvell's solutions will raise the bar for performance, power consumption, footprint, and cost-effectiveness in a silicon market that has been devoid of aggressive innovation," says Dr. Alan Armstrong, Vice President of Marketing for Marvell's Storage Business Group. "We can capitalize on this market of too few viable competitors by leveraging our strong enterprise storage expertise to offer performance and cost advantages to our customers."

The SAS controller market requires not only advanced semiconductor technology, but robust, feature-rich, and highly scalable storage software. Marvell has invested heavily in the development of a full suite of high performance, highly scalable, fault-tolerant RAID and storage management software. Marvell's extensive storage software capability, coupled with its ground-breaking controller ICs will allow Marvell to offer a true one-stop solution to its customers.

The Marvell Family of SAS Controllers

The first product in Marvell's SAS controller portfolio is the Marvell 88SA6640 host controller, supporting four SAS/SATA ports. The 88SA6640 offers 4-lane PCI-Express connectivity to the host system for high throughput in bandwidth-hungry applications. The device incorporates a RAID offload engine to reduce CPU utilization, thereby increasing overall system performance. The device is offered with non-RAID drivers in addition to a full-featured RAID stack, including a customizable RAID management module for ease of use and fast product development. The Marvell 88SA6640 is currently sampling to key customers.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.