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IntelliProp Hydra SATA Bridge IPA-SA117A-BR Review - Tested with Four Intel DC S3700 SSDs (Page 2)

By Paul Alcorn from Feb 3, 2014 @ 20:02 CST
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: IntelliProp

HYDRA Architecture

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The HYDRA IPA-SA117A-BR aggregates two or four storage devices into one cohesive unit with NCQ capabilities. The design requires no firmware intervention for read/write I/Os. The bridge introduces minimal latency, which is imperative in SSD applications. The controller features support for SMART monitoring, and also issues TRIM and vendor-specific commands. The architecture also supports cascading for larger deployments of 60+ devices.

The HYDRA Bridge design is divided into four blocks: the SATA host cores, the SATA device core, the DRACO data engine, and the processor and memory. The IntelliProp SATA core provides the SATA interface, and the IntelliProp SATA Device core manages the PC connection. If needed, speed bridging can present 1.5 and 3Gb/s drives as 6Gb/s drives to the host PC. No additional software or drivers are required for the host machine.

The DRACO engine consists of an LBA translator, a data router, and the DRACO State Machine. The LBA translator tracks incoming requests and maps them to the correct LBA's. There is also an ATA Host State Machine and a DATA FIFO for each drive connection.

The controller merely interfaces with existing SSD designs. Support for the myriad of other technologies, such as power capacitors and ECC, is handled by the underlying units. HYDRA also supports integration of external DDR3 to facilitate device functions.

HYDRA stripes data on the underlying SSDs with a stripe size that targets the page size of the flash, to ensure consistent operations. HYDRA supports DIPM/HIPM power modes, and the design is tolerant of temperatures from -40C to +100C, which is necessary in high heat server environments. We test power consumption later in the evaluation.

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