LSI Broadens Disk Array Options for VARs

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Updated: The chip maker has introduced a new controller and board designed to work with both Serial Attached SCSI and Serial ATA and that supports RAID 6.

Chip maker LSI Logic has introduced a new controller and board designed to work with both Serial Attached SCSI and Serial ATA storage infrastructures, opening the door for VARs to experiment with SAS systems or easily migrate to such systems.

LSI said that its internal-connect MegaRAID SAS controllers eliminate the need to design SATA-only infrastructures.

LSI's new controller and board are designed for RAID 6 systems, allowing for recovery when two disks fail and providing VARs with a more sophisticated recovery option they can offer to customers. RAID 6 technology debuted a year to 18 months ago. The technology does not replace RAID 5 implementations, which only provide for recovery in the event of a single disk failure, but rather offer an additional measure of recovery capability in the event of two disks failing.

"VAR and reseller customers have been looking for this kind of added protection," said William Huang, president of Area Data Systems, an LSI partner based in Orange County, Calif. "People need more and more data and are adding more and more drives. This increases the possibility of drive failure because as you have more drives you are more likely to have a drive failure. RAID 6 provides extra protection in case you have drive failures."

VARs have typically favored SATA-based systems for RAID because they are less expensive to implement than competitive technologies, according to LSI's Tom Kodet, channel marketing manager at the Milpitas, Calif., company.

"The channel has adopted SATA very strongly as opposed to SAS and SCSI," Kodet said. "SATA systems are larger than and not as reliable as their enterprise brethren. But the cost per gig is much lower, and the channel has embraced SATA because of cost and efficiency."

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The new controller and board are at price parity with SATA-only offerings from LSI competitors, Kodet said, and are offered at just a slight premium from LSI's predecessor SAS-only product wthat supported RAID 5.

"What this means to a system builder is they don't have to go buy SATA controllers from one vendor and SAS controllers from another," said Kodet. LSI has combined the competing RAID controller technology onto a single chip and board.

VARs looking to help customers take advantage of the extra recovery capabilities of RAID 6 should keep in mind that, while the controllers are no more expensive than RAID 5 controllers, they will have to purchase an additional disk drive, typically available to non-channel users for about $150.

LSI Logic completed its $4 billion merger with storage and communications chip maker Agere Systems on April 4.

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Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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