this week announced today that its new 20-port InSpeed switch-on-a chip (SOC) will be generally available at the end of March 2003. Prototypes of the new InSpeed SOC 320 are shipping and being tested by key storage OEMs.
The new InSpeed SOC 320 builds upon the success of the first generation of InSpeed technology, integrating new features such as trunking, inter-switch frame communication and built-in fairness to ensure equal access to all drives. These new features, as well as the 20-port count, make the InSpeed SOC 320 ideal for cost-effectively transforming traditional 16-drive JBODs (Just A Bunch of Disks) to ultra-reliable SBODTM (Switched Bunch of Disks) based storage arrays.
At present, nine leading storage solutions providers are actively evaluating InSpeed SBOD configurations. To date, Vixel has signed Alpha agreements with four of these providers to formalize and guide the evaluation or implementation process.
"InSpeed is a field-proven technology and its benefits -- as well as the clear advantages of moving to a switched back-end architecture -- are well known. This is why industry powerhouses such as HP and Network Appliance have already implemented InSpeed," said Jim McCluney, Vixel's president and CEO. "The need we're addressing with the new InSpeed SOC 320 is making it easy and cost-effective for OEMs to move to switched back-end architectures by designing InSpeed into their next generation storage arrays. From the 20 port count, to the trunking and cascading features, to the inherent efficiencies in the way the SOC 320 enables storage enclosure services management, we've now delivered the pre-eminent SOC for creating next generation 16-drive SBODs."
InSpeed technology dramatically improves storage system Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) characteristics and increases I/O performance across all application types. As drive densities increase and users scale their systems to meet exponentially growing storage requirements, new points of system latency develop and the inherent risks associated with using shared bus connectivity in the back-end reach an unacceptable level. The InSpeed SOC 320 brings point-to-point switched connectivity to the individual drives in the storage array, enabling new drive-level diagnostics and preventative maintenance, and eliminating the single-point-of-failure risks that each individual drive poses to the entire drive shelf and sometimes the entire storage array.
"We have been proponents of the SBOD concept for some time now," said Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at The Enterprise Storage Group. "The good news is that the power of the SBOD concept is well understood by most storage system designers by now. It has proven itself in terms of additional performance and reliability over the past year. The 20-port InSpeed SOC 320 should be well received by this community, given the need for a larger number of drives in the tray."
InSpeed technology can be implemented in root switch position (providing switched connectivity and isolation of drive shelves), by creating an SBOD (providing switched connectivity and isolation to individual disk drives) or, ideally, both drives and shelves are converted to create a "fully switched" back-end architecture. Fully switched architectures provide unprecedented levels of system RAS and I/O performance while scaling, and enable the full range of continuous RAS improvement programs. The new InSpeed SOC 320 was designed with new features and functionality to help streamline the design process for implementation of fully switched back-end architectures.
"We have been testing Vixel's InSpeed technology in an SBOD, or 'Switched Bunch Of Disks' configuration, and we have found the resulting benefits to be quite impressive," said Tetsuro Kudo, director of 3rd Development Dept., Storage System Development Division of Fujitsu. "We believe switched back-end architectures offer users a number of performance and reliability benefits and we are strongly considering Vixel's InSpeed SOC technology."
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The next generation release of Vixel's InSpeed Technology adds key new features like trunking and inter-switch frame communication to aid in designing ultra-reliable switched back-end storage arrays.