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Broadcom Announces the First SAS/SATA RAID-on-Chip Solution
HDD Storage | Just Announced
Tue 01 Mar 2005

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 28 -- Intel Developer Forum (IDF) -- Broadcom Corporation announced the industry's first SAS/SATA RAID-on-Chip (RoC) device targeted at volume server and workstation markets. This highly integrated, multi-functional RoC device provides the cost, space and power savings required to accelerate the transition of enterprise-class RAID technology to a RAID-on-Motherboard (RoMB) solution. As a result of its cost-effective, single-chip design, the new Broadcom RoC will increase RAID adoption on cost-sensitive server and workstation platforms.

Representing an important transition in disk drive interconnect technology, SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) is initially expected to start replacing SCSI in enterprise computing platforms in 2005, with wide adoption expected in 2006, according to a number of leading market research firms. A driving factor behind this transition is the parallel interconnect limitations associated with SCSI technology and its effect on design, performance and scalability. SAS is a serial interconnect technology that incorporates high-performance, point-to-point links that are easy to design, deploy and scale. SAS is also compatible with the lower cost SATA interconnect technology that enables system design flexibility and allows for tiered storage offerings that mix SAS and SATA drives. Broadcom is driving I/O convergence and replacing both SCSI and discrete SATA I/O technologies with its single-chip RoC solution.

Other trends driving the need for RAID-on-Chip devices are the increase in storage requirements and the move to lower capacity, small form factor (SFF) 2.5-inch drives, which increase drive densities in servers and workstations. As drive densities increase, the possibility of failure increases as drives are added in a system, placing greater emphasis on resiliency and data integrity requirements in the enterprise. RAID technology is designed to simultaneously increase both reliability and performance in multi-disk drive systems. With today's announcement, Broadcom is integrating both RAID and SAS/SATA protocol capabilities together in a single-chip design, enabling cost-sensitive multi-disk drive platforms to exploit the performance and convergence benefits that SAS and SATA offer, without compromising reliability as drive densities increase.

Announced today is the Broadcom BCM8603 RAID-on-Chip device that integrates several functions that previously existed only as discrete components. The new solution includes the following features:

   * Eight 3 Gigabit per second (GB/s) SAS/SATA-II I/O controller ports
   * Choice of PCI Express and PCI-X host interfaces (with an
     integrated bridging option)
   * Embedded MIPS processor to run RAID firmware including Broadcom's
     popular XelCore RAID software stack
   * RAID5 hardware acceleration logic to increase performance
   * Double data rate (DDR) memory controller

In addition to the benefits of SAS/SATA convergence, the BCM8603 RoC also enables the transition from parallel PCI-X host interfaces to cost-effective, high-performance serial PCI Express host interfaces. To accommodate this transition, Broadcom has integrated support for both host bus architectures onto the BCM8603 RoC providing users with a choice of host interfaces based on their system I/O availability. Broadcom announced its first Gigabit Ethernet controller chip based on PCI Express in October 2003 and continues to be a leader in PCI Express I/O device shipments.

Additional enterprise-class RAID functionality is provided by Broadcom's highly portable and scalable XelCore RAID software. The software provides support for all popular RAID levels and incorporates such enterprise-class features as online capacity expansion, online RAID level migration, and the ability to create storage arrays that span multiple storage controllers without having to bring the system down.

"The BCM8603 RoC device enables system designers to design RAID technology with a cost-effective, single-chip solution that can be placed directly on the motherboard, making hardware-based RAID more widely available for cost- sensitive server and workstation platforms," said Tom Marmen, Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's Storage Line of Business. "Combined with our popular XelCore RAID software, the BCM8603 RoC represents a total storage solution, providing the industry's only single storage I/O device with built- in SAS, SATA-II, PCI Express and PCI-X."

"HP is driving industry adoption of SAS storage technology because of the enhanced performance capabilities it offers customers," said Javier Izquierdo, Director of Server Storage, HP. "Flexible SAS RoC devices, like Broadcom's BCM8603, help fill out the SAS ecosystem by providing a component with unique price/performance/feature characteristics that customers demand."

BCM8603 SAS Demonstration at IDF

The SCSI Trade Association (STA) will host a SAS performance demonstration that features the BCM8603 RoC and its ability to deliver throughput greater than 1 Gigabyte per second running SAS drives in Booth #104 at IDF. As part of the demonstration, multiple BCM8603 RoC controllers employing both PCI-X and PCI-Express interfaces, will deliver the industry's highest performance for SAS throughput to date. Broadcom will also host additional product and performance demonstrations at IDF in Booth #302.

Pricing and Availability

The Broadcom BCM8603 and associated PCI Express/PCI-X reference boards are currently available to early access customers. Pricing is available upon request.

About Broadcom

Broadcom Corporation is a global leader in wired and wireless broadband communications semiconductors. Our products enable the convergence of high- speed data, high definition video, voice and audio at home, in the office and on the go. Broadcom provides manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices with the industry's broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on- a-chip and software solutions. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything.

Broadcom is one of the world's largest fabless semiconductor companies, with annual revenue of more than $2 billion. The company is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at 1-949-450-8700 or at