Data Protection Software employs virtual RAID adapter technology.

Press Release Summary:

Using RAIDCore Virtual RAID Adapter technology, server, storage, and motherboard vendors can integrate RAID technology into products by leveraging multi-core server CPUs. VRA version supports Intel-compatible servers' SATA I/O ports, as well as I/O ports on SAS/SATA add-on controllers. Hardware-agnostic approach uses universal RAID driver and single management interface to support multiple disk controllers. With caching technology, RAIDCore achieves optimal write performance.

Original Press Release:

Dot Hill Introduces Virtual RAID Adapter Technology Targeted at Enterprise Server OEMs and Motherboard Vendors

Software-Based RAIDCore VRA Technology Delivers Similar Performance and Features to Internal Server Hardware RAID Controllers at a Fraction of the Cost

CARLSBAD, Calif., Sept. 15 /-- Dot Hill Systems Corp. (NASDAQ:HILL), a world-class provider of entry-level and midrange storage solutions for OEMs, systems integrators and resellers, today introduced its newest member of the RAIDCore software family of Windows and Linux server-based data protection solutions, targeted at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs). Aided by today's multi-core CPUs, this RAIDCore solution establishes an entirely new category of RAID for storage inside of servers known as virtual RAID adapter (VRA) technology. VRA-based solutions are enterprise-class data protection services and allow volume server OEMs or ODMs to offer built-in, high-end RAID functionality without the expense of a dedicated RAID-on-chip acceleration device.

The VRA version of RAIDCore is capable of supporting Intel -compatible servers' SATA I/O ports, as well as I/O ports on SAS/SATA add-on controllers. This innovative, hardware-agnostic approach uses a universal RAID driver and a single management interface to support multiple disk controllers, eliminating the need for separate interfaces as required by competitive offerings. As low-cost SAS expander technology, larger numbers of small form factor 2.5-inch drives and server-connected JBOD arrays proliferate in storage-server and clustered environments, VRAs will provide server vendors with a scalable solution that easily caters to future storage growth.

RAIDCore VRA technology also achieves superior write-performance over other software- and hardware-based server RAID solutions via innovative caching technology to further remove system bottlenecks.

"Several tier-one OEMs are currently evaluating or qualifying Dot Hill's RAIDCore VRA technology, with OEM-branded versions expected to launch later this month on Intel's ICH10R core logic entry-level server platforms, as well as SAS/SATA host bus adapters for SAS disk support," said Andy Mills, vice president of marketing and business development at Dot Hill. "Having major server vendors adopt and validate our technology is an important step forward for Dot Hill, as well as for VRA adoption in enterprise server environments."

In September 2008, Dot Hill acquired certain assets from Ciprico which included exclusive rights to license RAIDCore technology from Broadcom Corporation. The acquisition was part of a strategic initiative to offer software-only products for the enterprise server data protection market as complementary offering to its existing external hardware RAID array business. RAIDCore VRA technology is a unique software-only solution that utilizes the power of multi-core CPUs and high speed memory to provide a powerful new high performance RAID engine that does not require any form of hardware acceleration. This approach enables RAID to be offered in volume, entry-level servers where hardware-accelerated RAID has traditionally been too expensive.

"Enterprise customers are looking for efficient systems such as the Intel Xeon 5500 processor-based server core logic platforms," said Brad Karlberg, director of marketing for Storage, Intel Server Platforms Group. "As we continue to incorporate increasing storage functionality into our baseline server platforms, we welcome storage vendors such as Dot Hill that provide enterprise-hardened software solutions that take advantage of these new capabilities."

Dot Hill RAIDCore VRA technology is available on a license basis to leading motherboard vendors, server and workstation OEM/ODMs and system builders. Given the new system cost points that can be achieved using VRAs, Dot Hill believes that small-to-medium businesses and departmental server environments will benefit from adopting this technology.

"The emergence of virtual RAID adapter technology establishes a new category for RAID solutions," said Roger Cox, research vice president, storage markets, Gartner. "Powerful multi-core based servers have enabled a breed of pure host-based RAID solutions that are now able to successfully compete with higher-end RAID host bus adapters, as well as enabling RAID to achieve 100 percent penetration of servers down to the lowest-cost, entry-level servers."

A Better Alternative to Server Hardware- and Software-based RAID

RAID is essential for servers to provide the requisite data protection. However, with today's multi-core servers priced as low as $400, there is a great need for RAID functionality that offers high performance at a compelling price point. Up until now, customers only had a choice of pricey hardware controller-based add-in RAID cards, which can cost as much as the server hardware itself, or more budget-conscious, core logic chipset-based RAID solutions, which provide fewer features and are unable to meet the stringent demands of 24/7 server-class RAID technology.

Dot Hill RAIDCore VRA technology enables server, storage and motherboard vendors to integrate RAID technology into their products by leveraging the power of today's multi-core server CPUs instead of a dedicated RAID CPU-based, add-in board, helping to reduce hardware, power, cooling and support costs as well as reducing PCI-E expansion slot needs. RAIDCore VRA enables host-based RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50 directly on motherboard SATA I/O ports, reducing system costs and increasing the reliability of internal disk storage. The same software stack, with additional features enabled, may also be used for higher end SAS disk based systems that employ a built-in or PCIe host adapter-based SAS/SATA chipset, enabling vendors to maintain compatibility and a consistent look and feel across the entire product line.

The technology leverages a sophisticated RAID software stack, enabling today's servers to effectively process RAID tasks without compromising performance needed for other operations. Dot Hill RAIDCore VRA rivals the performance and features of hardware controller-based RAID at a fraction of the cost in addition to offering enhanced functions such as enhanced mirroring schemes to support simple system backup and recovery.

Dot Hill RAIDCore VRA technology also solves inherent deficiencies of pure software RAID, such as boot drive protection and fast recovery from system power loss, and enables advanced functions such as online RAID-level migration, online capacity expansion and comprehensive background scrubbing and consistency checking, historically the domain of hardware RAID implementations.

Maximum Flexibility, Easily Upgradeable, Completely Supported

The features and functionality of Dot Hill RAIDCore technology can be easily tailored to meet the needs of users -- both now and in the future -- through Dot Hill's "upgrade in place" ability. Users enter a license key (may be pre-activated by vendor) to activate a base-level of RAID features and functionality. At any point in time, they can then opt to upgrade and access expanded features.

Overview of RAIDCore Key Features/Functionality

Dot Hill RAIDCore technology key features/functionality include:

-- Single, unified O/S driver and single-pane management suite capable of managing RAID sets on different controller vendors

-- Spanned virtual RAID arrays, allowing users to create a virtual disk that spans across SAS/SATA I/O controllers and SATA-based core logic chipsets

-- Support for SAS, SATA, SSD 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch disk drives

-- Native support for multiple motherboard chipset vendors, including Intel's ICH7,8,9,10R and AMD SB600, SB700 and next-generation core logic chipsets

-- Native support for LSI 1068E 3G SAS I/O controller chipsets

-- Broad Operating system support -- Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, Windows 7 - 32 and 64 bit; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5 - 32 and 64 bit; SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and SLES 10 - 32 and 64 bit and Generic Linux SDK for custom integration

-- Support for basic RAID 0, 1, 10 features or higher featured RAID 0,1,5,10,50 and 1n,10n via licensing

-- N-way mirrored volume copy using RAID 1n, hidden arrays and split mirror

-- Hard coded licensing or web enabled software licensing framework that enables easy after-market upgrades and eliminating the need for a hardware-based license key

-- Support for mixed capacity drives allowing 100 percent of usage of all disk capacity available

For more information on RAIDCore, visit

About Dot Hill

Delivering innovative technology and global support, Dot Hill empowers OEMs and resellers to bring unique storage solutions to market, quickly, easily and cost-effectively. Offering high performance and industry-leading uptime, Dot Hill's RAID technology is the foundation for best-in-class storage solutions offering enterprise-class security, availability and data protection. The company's products are in use today by the world's leading service and equipment providers, common carriers, advanced technology and telecommunications companies as well as government agencies. Dot Hill solutions are certified to meet rigorous industry standards and military specifications, as well as RoHS and WEEE international environmental standards. Headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif., Dot Hill has offices and/or representatives in China, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States.

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Intel and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. RAIDCore is a registered trademark of Broadcom Corporation. All other trademarks or tradenames are the property of their respective owners.

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