Switched-PCI Penetrates Storage-System Market

Thursday Aug 15th 2002 by Enterprise Storage Forum Staff

PLX GigaBridge Switched-PCI enables storage system makers to improve performance, data availability and scalability.

As storage-system makers begin to adopt alternative interconnect technologies, switched-PCI is providing a means of expanding and improving the overall performance of their systems, according to data from PLX Technology, storage system makers, and industry analysts. A growing number of storage systems are implementing architectures that provide higher data speeds, data availability and system scalability.

SAN and NAS system makers are faced with an array of storage challenges: limited capacity of existing data buses used on those systems, bottlenecks between computers and storage resources, and multiple resources sharing data. Switched-PCI -- a technology that expands existing PCI systems into broader, faster and more reliable systems -- is providing storage-system makers a practical solution to meet those challenges.

According to PLX, it's GigaBridge Switched-PCI architecture is enabling storage system makers to break the I/O bottleneck between computers/servers and storage resources. A single GigaBridge controller provides a simple replacement for a PCI-to-PCI bridge, while multiple controllers create a multi-link PCI network through which stored data can be transferred quickly. By expanding the capacity of the PCI bus, a storage system can realize faster speeds -- up to 50Gbps aggregate -- as well as high availability and system scalability.

"Storage-system makers are looking constantly for ways to improve their product offerings, and therefore are receptive to adopting new technologies that will improve the solutions they provide the information-technology industry," said Paul Zorfass, senior analyst at International Data Corp./FTI. "By implementing a switched-PCI architecture such as GigaBridge, system makers are able to build high performance, scalability and availability into the feature mix."

The PLX GigaBridge Switched PCI architecture enables PCI-based telecommunications, data communications and embedded systems to incorporate up to 224 PCI bus segments, aggregate tens of gigabits per second, and connect two adjacent PCI devices up to 15 feet away, via a high-performance link. A cell-based architecture with independent PCI bus segments connected to each port, each GigaBridge switched PCI controller can drive up to four PCI slots and interoperates with other GigaBridge controllers as ports on the Switched-PCI systems.

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