Microchip Microsemi SAS4 expanders are here. During Flash Memory Summit 2018, the company unveiled its next-generation SAS4 expanders. While the SATA interface is rapidly dying as a storage interface, the SAS ecosystem is pushing ahead with SAS4. SATA has no clear roadmap past the 6.0gbps generation. SAS3 is already a 12G interface while the next-generation SAS4 is 24G.
Microchip Microsemi SAS4 Expanders
With PCIe 4.0, we expect new generations of SAS controllers to hit the market. We covered Microchip Microsemi Switchtec PCIe Gen4 Switches recently. The PCIe 4.0 transition will enable SAS4 24G generation in servers. With double the bandwidth, we expect to see traditional high-availability arrays along with large JBODs adopting the next-generation for twice the performance per chassis. Microsemi is a leader in the SAS space and the new SAS4 expanders are the enabling infrastructure that will help the ecosystem move to the next standard.
One of the key Microchip Microsemi SXP 24G SAS4 expander capabilities is the ability to use full 24G uplink bandwidth to controllers even using SAS4, SAS3, SAS2, or SATA drives. That is important for adoption. Instead of requiring SAS4 drives to get benefits from the new switches, an architecture can use legacy hardware. For example, a 100 bay JBODs can use SAS3 or SATA hard drives and get the benefit of higher uplink speeds to controller nodes. That feature is what the company calls Dynamic Channel Multiplexing (DCM.)
The new Microchip Microsemi SAS4 expanders are launching with 28 to 100 ports to enable traditional and emerging form factors. The firmware model is also compatible with the traditional Microsemi SAS expander line which should make it easier for OEM design teams to deploy.
Customers and Availability
Key customers at announcement are Seagate, Teledyne LeCroy, and MiTAC (the company behind Tyan.) We did not hear about pricing, but the microchip Microsemi SXP 24G SAS4 expanders will sample to customers in 2018.