The long awaited PCIe 3.0 bus has finally arrived and it is more than a bit fashionably late for the enterprise arena. The rush is on for companies such as LSI to deliver a host of storage components that will allow customers to reap the generational benefits that PCIe 3.0 brings along with it.
PCIe 3.0 brings much needed speed enhancements in the enterprise space for a whole host of technologies. The original introduction of PCIe 1.0a was in 2003, with a newer version of 1.0 released in 2005, followed closely by the release of version 2.0 in 2007. In 2010 work began on the new 3.0 version. Released late in 2011, PCIe 3.0 finally appeared ready to rear its head. Unfortunately, 3.0 was just released into the wild by Intel in March of this year. This has led to the delay of performance increases in a number of enterprise technologies. 40 and 100GB Ethernet, 16Gb Fibre Channel, FDR InfiniBand and 12Gb SAS all will rely heavily upon the increased bandwidth that PCIe 3.0 brings along with it.
In fact, 6Gb/s SAS is already hamstrung by PCIe 2.0. At full speed, it can only support five SAS lanes with PCIe 2.0. This has led to the under-utilization of some of the current crop of storage processors due to the restrictions placed upon them by PCIe 2.0. Even 10Gb/s Ethernet is experiencing limitations, with four ports unable to operate at full speed on a PCIe 2.0 bus.
With the massive improvements in performance in both IOPS and bandwidth, the penetration of solid state storage into the datacenter brings the challenge for companies to bring out technologies that can deliver. Just a few short years ago there were very few Host Bus Adapters (HBA) and RAID controllers that could shoulder the load of solid state storage (SSS). Typically, these devices were just hampering the full performance of the attached SSS. HBAs and RAID controllers that can scale up and capitalize on these improvements are in desperate demand.
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