AMCC Sets New Standard for SATA II Hardware RAID with High Performance 3ware 9550SX Controllers

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Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AMCC) [NASDAQ: AMCC], today introduced its next generation of hardware RAID controllers with support for the newly released Serial ATA 2.5 specification on a PCI-X platform.  The 3ware 9550SX family is based on StorSwitch, AMCCs seventh generation non-blocking switched fabric storage architecture and comprises the highest performing, most feature-rich hardware RAID controllers developed by the company to date.

The 3ware 9550SX is 200% faster than the companys industry-leading, previous generation 9500S.  The 3ware 9550SX delivers RAID 5 writes at over 380MB/sec and RAID 5 reads at more than 800MB/sec.  The new flagship series delivers increased performance with 3Gb/s wire speeds and Native Command Queuing support (NCQ).  It also features capacity expansion and failover capabilities through support for Port Selection and Port Multiplication.

AMCCs 3ware 9550SX family of hardware SATA II RAID controllers is available to North American VARs, OEMs and system builders from Bell Microproducts and Synnex and worldwide through the companys network of distribution partners. 

The 3ware 9550SX-4LP 4-port kit and the 3ware 9550SX-8LP 8-port kit, both in low profile form factors, are available today with MSRPs of $395 and $595 respectively.  The 12- and 16-port kits will be available later in 2005 with MSRPs of $795 and $995.  3ware 9550SX kits are backed by a 3-year warranty and are compatible with Microsoft Windows 2003/XP/2000, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux, and FreeBSD operating systems.

Serial ATA is evolving from a desktop to a data center solution, and we are driving that evolution by offering technology that delivers the critical performance requirements of high density, high performance computing applications including D2D back up, video capture, post production and delivery, and security surveillance, said Barbara Murphy, Vice President of Storage at AMCC Storage Business Unit. "AMCCs new 9550SX SATA RAID controllers set the standard for performance in SATA storage applications.  We are committed to delivering a performance roadmap that will continue to open up new applications for SATA storage and we look forward to developing those opportunities with our strategic partners, VARs, and system integrators.
 
AMCC maintains complete architectural independence which enables the company to implement performance and reliability features in hardware, firmware or software without relying on generic I/O processors.

AMCCs 3ware controllers are based on the companys seventh-generation StorSwitch non-blocking switched fabric RAID architecture that provides scaleable capacity up to 8.0 TB per controller, using 500 GB drives, and total system capacity limited only to available PCI-X slots. 

The companys advanced hardware RAID architecture features an on-board processor and an integrated RAID ASIC that offloads RAID controller functions from the host CPU, dedicating the server processing to its core applications and enhancing overall system performance.  

Putting it all Together

The 3ware 9550SX SATA II RAID controllers are built on Storswitch, StorSave StreamFusion and Multi-lane.

StorSwitch is the companys innovative non-blocking switched fabric RAID architecture for scalable performance.  StorSwitch allows 3ware RAID controllers to concurrently communicate to all attached SATA drives through a pool of 32 Direct Memory Access (DMA) channels for unparalleled performance and data availability. The result is superior overall system performance compared to non-scalable, hub-based storage subsystems that share the bandwidth of a single DMA channel.

3ware RAID controllers also implement StorSave, a powerful combination of reliability enhancements and a Battery Backup Unit (BBU) that maximize data protection and system reliability without sacrificing I/O performance in critical RAID modes.  StorSave allows the 9550SX to use and protect both controller cache and disk cache.  The result is strengthened array performance during optimal usage, as well as during degraded RAID 5 operations.  The optional 9550SX BBU maximizes reliability with cached write data protection and is expected to be available later this year.

StreamFusion is an intelligent cache algorithm that maximizes application performance under heavy loads by dynamically detecting the presence of multiple simultaneous write data streams and efficiently allocating controller cache for maximum bandwidth, preventing  the controller from becoming the performance bottleneck.

AMCC also offers SATA controllers that feature award-winning Multi-lane connectivity for high capacity industrial environments.  Multi-lane is a highly reliable, locking cable/connector system that combines 4 SATA ports into a single locked connection on the controller. 

3Gbps increases SATA wire speed from 1500MHz (1.5GHz) to 3000MHz (3GHz) and is intended to be 100% backward compatible with existing drivers and cabling.

Native Command Queuing optimally reorders commands, reducing hard drive overhead and improving drive endurance.

Port Multiplication support provides a platform to attach multiple drives to a single SATA port for random access applications.  Port Selector support implements active/passive controller redundancy and eliminates a single point of failure in storage subsystems. Both Port Selector and Port Multiplication functionality are integrated in chassis designs.

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