Electronic Design

Low-Cost HBA Offers High Performance

The iSNAP 2110 host bus adapter (HBA) from Silverback Systems affordably brings a new level of performance to storage-area networks-(SANs). While Fibre Channel still reigns over SAN connectivity, the Ethernet-based serial version of the long-popular SCSI (Skuzzy) interface has made huge inroads simply because it permits the use of in-place Ethernet wiring for SAN operations.

Designed for servers and workstations, the iSNAP 2110 accelerates iSCSI and TCP operations in SANs, network-attached storage, iSCSI servers, and clusters. The low-profile card plugs into a standard PCI-X, 64-bit, 133-MHz bus and provides two 1-Gbit/s full-duplex Ethernet ports with RJ-45 connectors (see the figure). It also offers a maximum throughput of 440 Mbytes/s and 250k IOPS (iSCSI input/output operations per second).

The device can support up to 3k iSCSI sessions and 4k TCP connections. The iSCSI full offload includes the cyclic redundancy check with direct data placement. The TCP offload includes fragmentation and reassembly and out-of-order packet processing. It simultaneously accelerates TCP/IP, iSCSI initiator, and iSCSI target across both ports.

At the heart of the 2110 is Silverback's own silicon, the iSNAP 2110 acceleration processor. It and its underlying architecture and firmware are scalable to 10 Gbits/s and beyond with the ability to support emerging technologies and protocols. The HBA also includes shrink-wrapped driver software for Windows 2003 Server, Red Hat Linux Enterprise 4.0, and SuSE Linux Professional 9.0. The iSNAP 2110 costs $350.

Silverback Systems Inc.

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