Intel Chips Away at RAID

Sticking with previously announced plans to greatly improve the storage
processing capabilities of its Xeon line, Intel unveiled the IOP332 Storage
I/O Processor, along with faster DDR2 memory.

Formerly code-named “Dobson,” the storage processor is geared to offer
customers better RAID storage performance over previous generations,
according to the chipmaker, whose partners IBM, Dell and
HP all released servers based on the 3.60 GHz Intel E7520 and E7320 chipsets
(formerly codenamed “Lindenhurst”).

The IOP332 was part of the news, albeit more subdued than the buzz around
the famed Lindenhurst chips. The processor was designed to cost-effectively
increase RAID storage performance to help improve data reliability and
reduce downtime, both crucial characteristics in data centers chock full of
computing gear.

The company said in a statement the IOP332 employs DDR2 400 memory and the
fastest Intel XScale core at 800 MHz to increase the speed of RAID5 data
storage and recovery. A 800 MHz system bus and new PCI Express interconnect
is also being used to curb the latency associated with classic PCI-X

With the arrival of 64-bit computing as a mainstay architecture on the
computing scene thanks to Intel and chip rivals AMD and IBM, the bar has
also been raised for storage capabilities as customers seek to get the
biggest bang for their IT buck in server and storage gear.

Such features should be especially attractive to banks and other financial
institutions that process millions of transactions per day. Uptime in these
businesses is critical, so providing full 64-bit capability, improved
storage and connectivity features is a must for Intel.

For example, Intel promises the new DDR2 400 memory technology will have a
20 percent increase in memory bandwidth and up to 40 percent reduction in
power over DDR 333. The concept of more memory with less power consumption
is attractive to customers looking to beef up storage capacity without
coughing up extra dollars for more electricity.

But these perks are also key for rack and blade servers, where the goal is
to pack lots of computing power into a constrained space while keeping heat
under control.

Moreover, the 800 MHz system bus provides 50 percent greater bandwidth
between the chipset and the Intel Xeon processor, triggering faster data
flow to applications.

The IOP332 Storage I/O Processor is currently priced at $82 for payloads of
1,000 chips.

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