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Intel pens deal with Emulex to develop storage processors

Intel and Emulex announced a deal to develop storage processors that integrate the Serial ATA, Serial-attached SCSI and Fibre Channel interfaces.

PHOENIX -- Intel Corp. and Emulex Corp. announced a deal at the Storage Networking World 2003 conference to jointly develop storage processors that integrate the Serial ATA, Serial-attached SCSI and Fibre Channel interfaces.

The resulting product line is expected to speed performance of the three most widely used storage system interfaces, according to the companies.

Intel and Emulex held a joint press conference Tuesday to position the future storage processors as building blocks for hardware and software makers who plan to develop direct-attached storage (DAS) and storage area network (SAN) products.

Randy Kerns, a senior analyst with the Evaluator Group Inc., in Greenwood Village, Colo., said that Intel has decided not to develop its own Fibre Channel interfaces and has opted to partner with Emulex to avoid the speed bumps involved with developing intellectual property in-house -- a wise move, in Kerns' view.

"Intel needs Fibre Channel in order to move up the food chain. They're moving into Serial ATA and Serial SCSI to try and cover the spectrum of interfaces without developing their own intellectual property," Kerns said.

Emulex has been charged with developing the protocol controller hardware, firmware and drivers, while Intel said it would customize its XScale processing architecture so it can be used as the foundation for the new technologies.

Mike Wall, general manager of Intel's storage components division, said that incorporating Intel's XScale architecture and processor technology should result in faster, more integrated processors.

Emulex will market the subsequent Fibre Channel products, and Intel will sell the Serial ATA and Serial-attached SCSI line.

Emulex's service level interface technology will find its way into the controllers for compatibility across the product line and will enable firmware upgrades independent of the software drivers.

The companies plan to deliver their first batch of storage processors in 2004.


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Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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