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NGIO Releases Spec.

The Next Generation I/O (NGIO) Forum announced the release of version 1.0 of its specification on July 20. The first NGIO products may become available at the end of this year or the first quarter of 2000, according to sources close to the NGIO Forum.

"Approval of the specification means that implementation can begin immediately," Charles Andres, NGIO marketing working group chairman and group manager, I/O Technologies, Market Development Engineering, Sun Microsystems said when announcing the release of the specification. "The approved specification has all the information needed for a complete NGIO fabric," Andres continued. "This includes all the building blocks: specs for switches, the physical connectors, and the software driver module."

"Several companies--Sun and Intel have started--have prototypes available. We should start to see some prototypes show up at various conferences (later this year)," Andres predicted.

"NGIO requires only four wires to connect and is scalable from small systems up to the Enterprise," Andres continued. "Next year, we expect to see a fully enabled server system and I/O system. The server systems will have native NGIO host bridges that directly attach into the subsystem."

The NGIO specification details such features as the Host Channel Adapters (HCA), physical links, switches, Target Channel Adapters (TCA), fabric services, and software infrastructure, according to a release distributed on the day of the announcement. NGIO includes the use of separate I/O channels, rather than a shared memory-mapped bus architecture and a shift from parallel to serial signaling. Further, switched fabrics that support I/O devices are an additional part of NGIO's specification.

On the day of the announcement, a number of companies in addition to Sun and Intel announced support for NGIO. Auspex Systems announced that "we believe the NGIO specification will become a key enabling technology for the Network Attached Storage market and will be an integral part of future Auspex NAS products," Bruce N. Moore, Auspex Systems president and CEO said.

Distributed Processing Technology (DPT) announced plans to develop "storage solutions to support the NGIO specification in the future," according to a release by DPT. In addition, Finisar, Synopsys, and Hewlett-Packard also made announcements.

To help promote the NGIO specification and educate potential developers and implementers, an NGIO Developers Conference has been planned for September 28-30, 1999 in Newport Beach, CA. The conference is for members and nonmembers, designed to provide a review of the specification.

According to information provided by the NGIO forum, the "review will specifically address implementation issues faced by developers." Further, the sessions "will allow attendees to network with other vendors who provide enabling tools," the release concluded.
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Title Annotation:Company Business and Marketing
Author:Brownstein, Mark
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Date:Aug 1, 1999
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