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Targeted at its new channel, LSI has released the 600 series JBODs (just a bunch of drives), which are 2U, rack-mountable storage enclosures based on 6Gb/s SAS technology that include the built-in LSI SAS2x36 6Gb/s SAS expander IC.

The enclosures offer hot-swappable drive bays that support 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s SATA or SAS hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs) or self-encrypting drives. The LSI 620J ($2,795) enclosure supports up to twenty-four 2.5-inch drives while the LSI 630J ($2,595) supports up to twelve 3.5-inch drives.

LSI, which primarily sells its ICs, RAID controllers, host bus adapters, systems and software to OEMs such as IBM, started building out its channel last year, says Suresh Panikar, senior manager, worldwide channel marketing at LSI. It found that system integrators and system builders were looking for a vendor that could do it all, and one of their needs were JBODs. Storage demands were growing – and changing – so they were looking for storage building blocks that could quickly and easily grow with their customers.

There are a number of differences with LSI’s JBODs, he says, including form factor, speed, scalability and drive compatibility. Because they’re based on 6Gb/s SAS technology, they offer more than twice the I/O transfer performance of the existing JBODs, says Panikar. And with the extensive drive compatibility list they’ve developed, system builders are free to pick the drives they want.
In the end, it all comes down to flexibility and choice, he says. There are partners who prefer SATA, SAS or SSD, performance or security, and in all cases, LSI’s JBODs can provide the solution that meets their needs.

When used with LSI 6Gb/s SATA+SAS storage adapters, users can expand and scale storage capacity up to 512 HDDs, or one petabyte. The enclosures support MegaRAID and 3ware RAID controllers and LSI HBAs with external ports, and can be used with other commercially available RAID controllers and HBAs and are compatible with a broad variety of HDD and SSD drive types. 

The optional, fully-redundant and hot-swappable Environmental Services Module (ESM) features three 6Gb/s SAS ports, providing connectivity for two host devices and expansion to additional JBOD enclosures via SFF-8088 connections. The JBODs offer SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) 2.0 support for management via inband SAS SMP protocol, and the dual power supplies and cooling modules also are field replaceable by customers. LEDs on the power supplies, ESMs and each individual drive carrier allow all system components to be monitored to help ensure uptime, while the power and cooling supplies have been designed to reduce power expenditures.

Since LSI started ramping up its channel last July, the company has engaged approximately 4,000 premier, preferred and, accounting for the bulk, registered partners. Panikar says the company is in the process of getting its partners up to speed on the JBODs, which have already been shipped to distributors, including Bell Micro, Ingram Micro and Synnex.

The channel business has been growing since the fourth quarter, he says, at both ends of the market.
“System builders supplying into large organizations on a bid basis are getting busy.” LSI is also seeing growth with its smaller partners. Most of this demand appears to be in vertical applications like video and medical imaging.

He says the channel should look for a lot more from LSI this year. “We will continue on this path we have taken to provide more and more storage value to our system integrators and system builders that we identified last year, by bringing to this marketplace what they need most.”