Author: Sam Barnett, Business Manager, Serial Attached SCSI and Serial ATA Storage / Storage Networking Products, Storage Products Group, Maxim Integrated Products
As first generation systems based on Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) technology enter the market, leading server and storage OEMs are racing to deliver the next group of platforms based on an ever-evolving technology landscape. Unlike other semiconductor vendors, Maxim opted to enhance its popular NexSAS product family concurrently with the release of generation I systems. This leapfrogging approach to the deployment of SAS technology has led to the introduction of many new products with features found only in high availability, superior performing Fibre Channel systems today. Comprised of three new high-phy-count expanders, extensions in intelligent mux/de-mux devices, a new enclosure management/SAS backplane controller, and the industry's best rate, agile signal conditioners, the NexSAS line delivers on the promise of high performance storage solutions for SMB (small/medium business) as well as enterprise systems.
The Maxim NexSAS product family is divided into four functional areas: expander technology, SAS/Serial ATA (SATA) support devices, server/enclosure/baseboard management, and signal conditioning. This article explores Generation 1.5 NexSAS expander technology in detail.