SCSI Library

PMC-Sierra Introduces Industry’s First Multi-Core, Multi-Threaded RAID Platform for x86 Servers

Press Releases » Member Releases

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 17, 2010, – PMC-Sierra, Inc. (Nasdaq:PMCS) today announced its maxRAI™ architecture and the first product in the family, the BR5225-80 RAID adapter designed for solid state disk (SSD) storage in x86 servers (see Figure 1). Based on PMC-Sierra’s market-leading, multi-core SRC 8x6G RAID-on-Chip (RoC) controller and multi-threaded, performance-optimized RAID stack software, the maxRAID BR5225-80 connects PCI Express® (PCIe®) 2.0 to eight SAS/SATA ports at up to 6Gb/s and targets data- and transaction-intensive applications requiring highest IOPS and throughput. The maxRAID architecture currently delivers 136,000 IOPS in a single RAID controller and can achieve up to 300,000 IOPS, as shown in simulations of PMC-Sierra’s next-generation 6Gb/s SAS RAID solution. PMC-Sierra’s RAID platform includes the maxRAID Storage Manager, a web-based graphical application with an intuitive user interface that allows users to manage their server storage efficiently from a standard browser on any console within the company or VPN.

PMC-IBM Joint Development Agreement Delivering Industry-Leading Results
PMC-Sierra entered into a joint development agreement (JDA) with IBM to collaborate on breakthrough RAID solutions integrating PMC-Sierra’s industry-leading storage protocol controller family and IBM’s industry-hardened RAID software. Results from the JDA project enabled PMC-Sierra to be first to market with its maxRAID multi-core, multi-threaded RAID solution optimized for superior SSD storage performance.

“PMC-Sierra and IBM engineering teams worked together to bring to market a high-performance enterprise RAID solution for x86 servers,” said Jan Janick, vice president, Blades and System x Server Development. “The maxRAID BR5225-80 offers customers of our newly announced eX5 servers the application performance they require in a RAID solution with solid state disks. The PMC solution enables IBM to offer a RAID adapter that takes full advantage of SSD-enabled system performance.”

A New Class of RAID Adapter Optimized for SSDs
Today’s RAID adapters are designed for hard disk drives (HDDs), which provide a fraction of the performance of a single SSD. In many cases, multiple enterprise HDDs are “short stroked” to use a small portion of the overall capacity to gain better performance. This technique reduces disk utilization on each HDD and creates a costly solution to improve performance (see Figure 2). PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID BR5225-80 uses a multi-threaded, multi-core architecture combined with a RAID stack based on IBM’s industry-proven RAID technology that can leverage the full performance advantages of SSD storage, saving system cost, lowering data center power requirements and maximizing storage capacity utilization.

“SSDs are the next standard for fast and efficient server storage, and a new class of RAID adapter is needed to enable the performance potential,” said Roger Cox, research vice president, Data Center Systems, Gartner. “The market is ready for a RAID adapter solution that is optimized for solid-state storage, especially in transaction-oriented applications where today’s servers have to wait for storage.”

Breakthrough Results with PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID Architecture
PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID architecture changes the game for RAID and server storage, producing performance far beyond today’s solutions. The architecture combines multiple RAID processing cores and PMC-Sierra’s RoCstar™ interconnect with the multi-threaded maxRAID stack to create an extendible architecture that efficiently scales as more cores and processing power are added to next-generation RAID-on-Chip ICs. PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID architecture and next-generation RAID-on-Chip controllers will take future RAID 5 random read performance from today’s 136K IOPS with the maxRAID BR5225-80 up to up to 300K IOPS on a single controller. A server configuration with four next-generation PMC-Sierra maxRAID adapters each connected to eight SSDs will achieve greater than one million IOPS.

“Leveraging the strength and market success of our 6Gb/s SAS RAID-on-Chip technology, PMC-Sierra continues to deliver industry-leading RAID solutions that provide an advantage to our customers,” said Mark Stibitz, vice president and general manager of PMC-Sierra’s Enterprise Storage Division. “Our first maxRAID SSD solution is outperforming HDD RAID by a factor of 60 to one, demonstrating the value PMC’s maxRAID platform can bring to next-generation server and storage system designs.”

PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID BR5225-80 x8 PCIe 2.0 to eight 6Gb/s SAS RAID adapter features:

  • maxRAID suite of management utilities
  • Web-based GUI and command line interface tools
  • Boot support for BIOS and uEFI systems
  • RAID-on-Chip controller with RoCStar architecture, which provides simultaneous access to all chip resources, increasing I/O throughput and lowering latency
  • Three multi-threaded MIPS® processing cores
  • Hardware RAID 1 and 5
  • Two x4 internal SFF8087 SAS connectors
  • x8 PCIe 2.0 (5Gb/s)
  • 1.5 & 3Gb/s SATA and 3 & 6Gb/s SAS support
  • Easy to use maxRAID Storage Manager management utility
  • Management utilities conform to current SNIA, SMI-S and DMTF industry standards
  • Broad support for Windows and Linux
  • Connect 8 SSD or HDD devices per adapter; up to four adapters in a system
  • Hot spare support

Availability and Pricing
PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID BR5225-80 adapter is sampling now to select OEM customers, with a list price of $495. For more information on PMC-Sierra’s storage products, visit, or contact PMC-Sierra at

About PMC-Sierra
PMC-Sierra®, the premier Internet infrastructure semiconductor solution provider, offers its customers technical and sales support worldwide through a network of offices in North America, Europe, Israel and Asia. PMC-Sierra provides semiconductor solutions for Enterprise Storage, Wide Area Network Infrastructure, Fiber To The Home, and Laser Printer markets. The Company is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the PMCS symbol. For more information, visit


Figure 1: PMC-Sierra’s maxRAID Multi-Core, Multi-Threaded Architecture vs. Single Core
Figure 2: SSD RAID vs. Traditional HDD RAID

For figures visit: