LSI Accelerates 12Gb/s SAS Revolution With New HBAs

It’s still early days for the 12Gb/s SAS storage market, but anything which can significantly improve performance, like more than 1 million IOPs, will be eagerly greeted by users faced with ever-growing data volumes.

LSI claimed bragging rights for being the first to ship 12Gb/s SAS RAID-on-Chip (ROC) and I/O controller solutions to OEMs at the start of March. A month later HGST announced its Ultrastar 12Gb/s SAS SSDs. In May Seagate rolled out its new flash-memory portfolio, including the Seagate 1200 SSD with 12Gb/s SAS, providing 100% faster interface speed for twice the I/O bandwidth.

IDC’s Jeff Janukowicz, Research Director for Solid State Storage and Enabling Technologies, was quoted in both the LSI and HGST announcements, stating that the explosive growth of data in cloud and enterprise datacenters drives the need for a higher-performance storage interface that enables more rapid access to data. “12Gb/s SAS addresses this requirement by doubling the performance of current 6Gb/s SAS-based systems, and helps to unlock the full potential of PCI Express 3.0-based systems and the most recent solid-state storage solutions.”

He added that the future for SSDs, along with high-performance and high-capacity HDDs, are the main building blocks of choice for traditional IT and cloud hyperscale datacenters. They represent a market that is expected to grow in excess of $16 billion by 2015. Enterprise flash is still a small slice of the overall storage pie (growing to $1.2 billion by 2015), but it is outgrowing disk, which reported its first revenue decline (to $5.9 billion) since 2009.

Now LSI is back with 12Gb/s SAS Host Bus Adapters that deliver over 1 million IOPs for server, workstations, and external storage systems. Each member of the 9300 HBA family supports 4 or 8 individual SAS ports, can provide over 6,000MB/s of throughput performance for streaming applications, and is optimized with the latest PCI Express 3.0 specification, said Jim Evans, Sr. Product Mgr., RAID Storage Division, LSI.

There’s really been demand with SSD performance to get the best IO performance possible, he said, especially with the emergence of PCI Express 3.0, which doubles the interconnect performance bandwidth over PCIe 2.0. “6gig SAS became the storage throughput bottleneck.”

Last month Tom’s Hardware tested LSI’s 9300-8e, a pre-release model, with the already announced 12 Gb/s SAS HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM. “LSI is going to help push the adoption of 12 Gb/s SAS with the introduction of its SAS 9300-8e,” said Drew Riley, who called the controller “an enabler”.

“On our bench, the SAS 9300-8e performed well in both 6 and 12 Gb/s modes. It certainly doesn’t seem to be bottlenecking the one 12 Gb/s SSD to which we have access, and it’s nearly as fast as Intel’s native SATA controller when we attach the company’s SSD DC S3700, too.”


Author: Steve Wexler

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