Electronic Design

I/O Building Blocks Simplify RAID Development

It has just gotten easier to build high-performance, affordable RAID (redundant array of independent disks) systems. Two innovative products, dubbed Integrated RAID building blocks, join Intel's family of I/O building blocks. The new entries are based upon open-industry specifications and are prevalidated with Intel processors, chip sets, and leading network operating systems (NOSs). They're also available at multiple levels of integration, ranging from I/O processors to completed adapter cards.

One product is the Integrated RAID Design Kit SMU22R. A two-channel Ultra2 SCSI RAID design, it's based on the high-performance and integrated data-flow architecture of the i960 RM I/O processor. With the SMU22R, engineers can develop cost-effective, high-performance, intelligent RAID systems. The design kit includes the schematics and descriptions for hardware manufacturing, along with the Integrated RAID software stack. Drivers, utilities, and firmware also are provided. All packages are validated with Intel's latest server processors and chip sets.

Another product, the KMU21 Integrated RAID Controller, is a single-channel Ultra2 SCSI RAID controller validated for use in servers and workstations. Both the SMU22R and KMU21 feature LSI Logic's Ultra2 LVD SCSI controllers.

As for software, Integrated RAID combines the user-friendliness of a web browser with advanced capabilities that keep servers online and data continuously available. Designers can create their own look and feel across multiple operating systems, while maintaining a consistent graphical user interface and hard-disk data formats.

The i960 RM/RN I/O processors tightly integrate buses and functional units. For example, there are multiple concurrent data paths, including primary and secondary PCI buses, and a PCI-style internal bus. There's also a PCI-to-PCI bridge, a hardware XOR engine for RAID 5 parity calculations, an integrated memory controller for flash memory, and a high-performance processor core.

Functional units are supported by the IxWorks real-time operating system (Wind River Systems, Alameda, Calif.), an implementation of the I2O software architecture. This architecture is key to the Integrated RAID building blocks. I2O provides the communication mechanism between RAID device-driver modules, the I/O processor's real-time operating system, and the NOS running on the host processor. By implementing an I2O core-compliant driver architecture, device drivers are interoperable across supported NOS platforms. This allows faster OEM validation and development of RAID solutions.

Designers can obtain Integrated RAID Development Kits through local Intel sales offices. Priced at $9995, they come with the SMU22R reference design, KMU21 controller card, licensed software, Integrated RAID CD, and technical documentation.

I/O Processor Development Kits are available for the entire i960 Rx I/O processor family. Included are a Cyclone evaluation board and complete software tools.

Intel Corp., Robert Noyce Bldg., 2200 Mission College Blvd., P.O. Box 58119, Santa Clara, CA 95052-8119; (408) 765-8080; fax (408) 765-9904; Internet: developer.intel.com.

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TAGS: Intel
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