Broadcom’s ServerWorks Enters Storage Controller Market

1/16/2003 - ServerWorks Corporation, a Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) company and the leading independent supplier of high-performance SystemI/OTM integrated circuits for servers, workstations and storage platforms, announced it has commenced sample shipments of its new line of Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) host controllers. The new product line consists of three devices including a PCI-X-based four-port SATA controller, a PCI-X-based eight-port SATA controller, and a versatile dual-channel multiplexor, which links either a SATA device or a parallel ATA (PATA) device to two separate host controllers for storage applications that require failover and load balancing abilities.

Unlike the ServerWorksTM Grand ChampionTM product line that operates only with Intel-based servers, these new SATA members of the SystemI/O product family can be used in any computer system that includes PCI or PCI-X bus technologies, thus expanding the markets that ServerWorks can address with its innovative technology. ServerWorks’ SystemI/O core logic technology manages the flow of data to and from a system’s processors, memory and peripheral input/output (I/O) devices.

“Storage interconnects are being serialized and Serial ATA is the first of this new generation of technologies. By bringing our extensive SystemI/O expertise to these new SATA products, we continue to drive the performance point of servers and, at the same time, expand our ability to meet the needs of storage customers,” said David Pulling, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ServerWorks. “Servers are all about I/O bandwidth. ServerWorks initially focused on server platforms, and designed logic that delivers the highest memory and I/O bus bandwidth in the industry. Now we are creating peripherals that can exploit all of that system bandwidth.”

SATA Background
In 1999 a group of system, semiconductor and storage device suppliers recognized that the widely deployed PATA interface, sometimes known as IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics), would soon begin to limit system performance. These suppliers created the Serial ATA Working Group and set out to develop a new interface based on serial transmission techniques. The group released its Serial ATA 1.0 specification in August 2001. The new standard replaces the ancient 40-conductor flat ribbon cables used to connect disk drives to the motherboards of most personal computers with thin and flexible point-to-point cables, and transfers data at a higher rate (150 Megabytes per second) than PATA (typically 100 MB/second). Serial ATA storage devices are expected to proliferate in the market during the second half of 2003.

Two New ServerWorks Host SATA Controllers
The new ServerWorks controllers have the ability to manage up to four SATA devices, using the SWC-IB7453 quad host controller, or eight devices, using the SWC-IB7451 octal host controller. System designers can utilize either component to support JBOD (“Just a Bunch Of Drives”) or RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) array configurations. These arrays can be linked directly to the host computer via its local PCI-X bus, or they can be used within SAN and NAS storage nodes, which are then attached to a remote host computer using a variety of connectivity options, including FibreChannel, iSCSI or InfiniBand. Additionally, these controllers can be used in conjunction with ServerWorks’ SystemI/O solutions to develop complete, integrated NAS and SAN platforms.

These new SATA controllers support hot-plug capability and can be attached to the drives they control using either standard Serial ATA cables or via backplane interfaces. This latter mode enables individual disk drives to be individually inserted or removed from a storage rack while the system remains in operation, much like individual server blades are added or removed from the equipment racks in which they reside.

The new controllers support two distinct software interfaces. Existing drivers, designed for use with standard PATA controllers, can be used without modification. Alternately, software drivers for the new controllers can invoke QDMA (Queued Direct Memory Access), a new high-performance mode of operation that supports ultra-deep command queues with up to 256 commands per queue for each port, along with individual DMA engines for each port.

Versatile Multiplexor Provides Redundant Links to SATA and PATA Devices
Along with the two new host controllers, ServerWorks is introducing a multiplexor device (SWC-IB7452) that provides upstream links to two SATA host controllers and downstream links to a Serial or Parallel ATA device. The upstream links allow the attached drive to be shared by both SATA controllers, facilitating the construction of redundant storage arrays and enabling load-sharing arrangements. The ability to configure the downstream link to handle either SATA or PATA peripherals gives system suppliers and end users the ability to mix and match legacy parallel drives and new serial drives, an important capability during technology transitions like the upcoming PATA to SATA evolution.

All three SATA components, including the quad host controller (SWC-IB7453), the octal host controller (SWC-IB7451), and the dual channel multiplexor (SWC-IB7452), are now available in sample quantities.

About ServerWorks and Broadcom
ServerWorks Corporation is the leading independent supplier of high-performance system input/output (I/O) integrated circuits for servers, workstations and storage platforms. ServerWorks’ SystemI/OTM silicon solutions are used pervasively by leading original equipment manufacturers. Its circuits act as the essential conduits for moving high-bandwidth data in and out of servers, to and from the external I/O, the main system memory and the system processors. ServerWorks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Broadcom Corporation, is located in Santa Clara, Calif., and may be contacted at 408-922-3100 or at

Broadcom Corporation is the leading provider of highly integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband communications and networking of voice, video and data services. Using proprietary technologies and advanced design methodologies, Broadcom designs, develops and supplies complete system-on-a-chip solutions and related hardware and software applications for every major broadband communications market. Broadcom’s diverse product portfolio includes solutions for digital cable and satellite set-top boxes; cable and DSL modems and residential gateways; high-speed transmission and switching for local, metropolitan and wide area networking; home and wireless networking; cellular and terrestrial wireless communications; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gateway and telephony systems; broadband network processors; and SystemI/OTM server solutions. These technologies and products support Broadcom’s core mission: Connecting everything®.

Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and may be contacted at 1-949-450-8700 or at

Broadcom®, the pulse logo, Connecting everything®, Grand ChampionTM, ServerWorksTM, the ServerWorks logo and SystemI/OTM are trademarks of Broadcom Corporation and/or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries. Intel® is a trademark of Intel Corporation.

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