Vitesse Delivers 20-port Fibre Channel Switch IC

1/28/2003 - Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS) announced the general availability of the VSC7197, a 20-port, 2 Gb/s, Fibre Channel Switch IC aimed at embedded storage area network (SAN) applications including RAID Controllers, Switches and SBODs (Switched Bunch Of Disks). The VSC7197 represents the highest level of integration, performance and reliability of any Fibre Channel switch on the market. It incorporates Vixel Corporation's InSpeedTM switching technology along with high-speed integrated SerDes and general purpose I/O. Alpha customers have seen SAN performance increase between 200 and 500 percent by connecting their SAN components via the VSC7197-based switch. To extend the functionality of this product, it is designed to operate as a chipset with the Vitesse VSC120 Enclosure Management Controller (and associated firmware). The chipset provides advanced management and diagnostic capabilities for identifying and isolating faults within the storage network. This product introduction fulfills Vitesse's earlier promise of delivering higher levels of integration, following the 2001 release of its very successful VSC7192 12-port Fibre Channel Switch IC.

The VSC7197 is targeted at two principal applications: standalone switches and SBOD arrays. As a standalone switch, the new silicon supports multi-link trunking, inter-switch frame communication, and Zoning/LIP isolation spanning cascaded switches, as well as the advanced features found in Vitesse's earlier 12-port version. When the VSC7197 is used in conjunction the VSC120 Enclosure Management Controller, this device can be used to process enclosure status and fault condition information and pass it to the SAN management application through either in-band communication (i.e. over the Fibre Channel link) or through a variety of out-of-band methods such as RS-232, I2C, IPMI or Ethernet. The VSC7197/VSC120 chipset provides a "Root" position function between a multi-channel RAID controller and a number of disk arrays.

In SBOD applications, the VSC7197 efficiently routes data between external ports and individual disk drives within an array. More importantly, the switch's per-port diagnostic capability can identify faulty devices, isolate them from the SAN, and alert network managers of the need for maintenance. As in standalone deployments, the VSC120 rounds out a complete solution for managed disk arrays when coupled with the VSC7197. In addition to these best-in-class features, the VSC7197 allows between two and eight SBODs to be daisy-chained together without the need for a switch. In this particular application, performance scales as disks are added to the SAN, whereas traditional JBODs saturate after a fairly small number of devices are added.

"The VSC7197 is experiencing widespread adoption within the enterprise storage market. This product is fulfilling the data availability, reliability, and serviceability demands for managed SBODs for Enterprise SAN customers," said Bob Rumer, director of strategic marketing at Vitesse. "Many of our customers will offer two solutions to end-users: a PBC-based JBOD and a managed VSC7197-based SBOD. The first system shipments will commence in the second half of 2003."

Product Support, Pricing and Availability
The VSC7197 is currently sampling to Alpha customers and will be available for general sampling beginning in March. Pricing for the VSC7197 is $200 per unit for quantities of one thousand. Evaluation platforms and software development kits are available for all Vitesse switch and enclosure management products and can be obtained by contacting Vitesse or its sales representatives.

About Vitesse
Vitesse Semiconductor is a leading designer and supplier of innovative, high-performance integrated circuits and optical modules used in next-generation networking and optical communications equipment. The Company's products address the needs of Enterprise, Access, Metro, Core, and Optical Transport network equipment manufacturers who demand a robust combination of high-speed, high-service delivery and low-power dissipation in their products. In concert with its broad communications product portfolio, Vitesse also develops ICs for storage area networking and enclosure management. Company and product information is available by calling 1-800-VITESSE or at

InSpeedTM is a trademark of Vixel Corporation
The Vixel InSpeedTM technology is an advanced switching architecture for use in FC-AL and FC-AL2 systems, which uses non-blocking crossbar switching to reduce loop latency to achieve an effective throughput of up to 99% of fabric speeds. The architecture allows multiple simultaneous tenancies to occur in order to maximize throughput. The InSpeedTM technology is highly scalable, supports complex topologies and operates transparently in all FC-AL and FC-AL2 networks.

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