Companies to Develop Third Generation I/O Specification

QLogic Corp. yesterday announced that it has joined a consortium to develop a specification for a third-generation serial I/O interconnect architecture, code-named 3GIO. This group of vendors, known as the Arapahoe Work Group, is developing this third-generation I/O specification to connect computing subsystems and I/O peripheral components at high-bandwidth speeds, addressing the needs of multiple market segments with an emphasis on performance, cost, scalability, feature extensibility and mission-critical reliability.

According to the company, the Arapahoe Work Group will deliver a draft 1.0 specification to the PCI-SIG in the first quarter of 2002. The PCI-SIG, composed of more than 970 active members, is the industry organization that owns and manages the PCI Local Bus specification.

QLogic said it views 3GIO as complementary to the InfiniBand-based products it is currently developing as the two architectures are intended to coexist in the server segment. Like PCI-X, the 3GIO architecture will be a general-purpose I/O interconnect. It will retain PCI software compatibility, and is designed to provide universal connectivity for use as a chip-to-chip interconnect, I/O interconnect for adapter cards, an I/O attach point to other interconnects like InfiniBand Architecture and Ethernet. InfiniBand Architecture is optimized for efficient sharing and communication between servers. It is best suited for shared I/O devices in a multiple server environment, i.e., Internet data centers and clusters. InfiniBand fabrics are expected to provide the backbone of data center connectivity.

The Arapahoe Work Group expects products based on third-generation I/O architecture are expected to begin emerging in the marketplace in the second half of 2003.

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