LSI brings first PCI Express 3.0 controller cards to market

 LSI brings first PCI Express 3.0 controller cards to market

LSI as unveiled its first MegaRAID 6Gb/s SAS+SATA controllers and host bus adapters (HBAs) featuring the PCI Express 3.0 interface.”We are on the very front end of the market with these, which are the first PCIe 3.0 controllers from a major player,” said Scott Cleland, senior manager at LSI. “There are some smaller competitors that have bridged to PCIe 3.0, but this is entirely native.”

The PCIe 3.0 interface represents a powerful upgrade over the 2.0 standard it replaces. It delivers a bit rate of 8 gigatransfers per second — roughly double the bandwidth of 2.0 — and incorporates a number of key new features to improve data transmission and protection as well, including transmitter and receiver equalization, PLL improvements and clock data recovery.

These controllers also take advantage of the higher memory and I/O bandwidths of the new Intel Romley platform, which became available in March.

“The interoperability with Romley is critical to the enhanced throughput and I/O per dollar ratio.” Cleland said.

The seven new LSI MegaRAID controllers and three new LSI HBAs announced exceed 465,000 IOPS when used in conjunction with MegaRAID Fast Path software in hybrid or solid state drive (SSD) environments. LSI says the new controllers, with dual-core LSISAS2208 ROC technology, boost IOPS performance up to 3X that of the existing industry-leading 6Gb/s RAID controllers based on the LSISAS2108 ROC from LSI

Each controller is powered by the LSI SAS 2208/2308 RAID-on-Chip using 6Gb/s SAS technology and includes dual 800MHz PowerPC Processor cores with 1GB cache memory. Two of the seven new controllers (the 9271-8iCC and 9286CV-8eCC) have integrated LSI’s CacheCade Pro 2.0, which optimizes SSD caching performance, so there is no separate software license. Two models (the 9286CV-8e and 9286CV-8eCC) also include the onboard LSI solid state flash-based CacheVault data protection option for even greater system protection.

“We are highly recommending our customers move to CacheVault technology,” Cleland said. “It’s where the industry is moving. It’s tough to dispose of lithium ion batteries, and CacheVault’s technology dispenses with the need for them.”

SAS technology still presents a cap on performance, but LSI expects to overcome that fairly soon.

“The controller performance is limited by 8 lanes of SAS connectivity, but we are working to change that limit,” said Larry Jacobs, product manager at LSI.

“Even with that limit in place, the controllers will still offer more performance than customers typically need,” Cleland said.

RAID 5 & 6 sequential writes have also been increased by up to 67% (up to 2523MB/s) which also puts LSI in a market-leading position.

“The target for these high-performance controllers is corporate datacenters, cloud storage providers, hosting, and HPC,” Cleland said.

Pricing is as follows. For the seven LSI MegaRAID SAS+SATA Controllers:

 

  • MegaRAID SAS 9270-8i single/kit$780/$835
  • MegaRAID SAS 9271-4i single/kit$540/$575
  • MegaRAID SAS 9271-8i single/kit$780/$835
  • MegaRAID SAS 9271-8iCC single$1,050
  • MegaRAID SAS 9286-8e single$995
  • MegaRAID SAS 9286CV-8e single$1,255
  • MegaRAID SAS 9286CV-8eCC single$1,525For the three LSI SAS+SATA HBAs:
  • SAS 9207-4i4e single/kit$335/$415
  • SAS 9207-8i single/kit$305/$385
  • SAS 9207-8e single$510″The three HBAs are available now,” Cleland said. “The MegaRAID cards are lagging just a bit, but they are expected in calendar Q3.”

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