PMC-Sierra Releases 6-Gbps SAS/SATA Hardware RAID Controllers

The new Adaptec Series 6E RAID controller is currently targeting a storage and system builder market that currently relies on software-based RAID controllers, said Tom Flageollet, director of worldwide sales and channel marketing for PMC's Adaptec branded products.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based PMC-Sierra in May acquired Adaptec's data storage hardware and software business in a $34 million deal.

The Series 6E is an entry-level version of the 6-Gbps SATA/SAS RAID controller released late last year, Flageollet said.

"It's for customers who don't need the performance of our other products, but who need a significant boost in performance compared to software RAID," he said.

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The Series 6E comes in two versions, both of which feature 128 MBs of DDR2-800 memory on-board as well as PMC-Sierra's own 6Gbps RoC (RAID-on-chip) processor, which the company has been shipping for about two years.

The Adaptec RAID 6405E is a four-port model with one PCIe host interface for use in nearly any workstation, industrial PC, or entry-level server platform. List price starts at $200.

The Adaptec RAID 6805E is an eight-port model with four PCIe interfaces. List price starts at $275.

The primary competition for the new RAID controllers is software-based RAID, Flageollet said. Software RAID is often included with entry-level workstations and servers at no charge, but performance is significantly lower that hardware-based RAID controllers, he said. They also target the market occupied by other hardware-based RAID controllers which have lower-performance DRAM cache memory on board, he said.

PMC-Sierra's release of the Series 6E comes at a time when the industry is finally shifting from 3-Gbps SAS/SATA performance to the much faster 6-Gbps connectivity, Flageollet said.

"There's still a lot of 3-Gbps product shipping," he said. "But the transition to 6-Gbps is really moving this year. By the end of this year or early next year, 6 Gbps will be dominant in the channel."