With the intention of expanding its I/O offerings for computer systems and peripherals, Initio Corp. has acquired the SCSI and 1394 FireWire product lines of ConnectCom Solutions Inc. Financial terms of the deal between the privately held companies, both based in San Jose, were not disclosed.
Acquiring the host bus adapters and related software of ConnectCom (formerly AdvanSys Corp.) will allow Initio to broaden its client-side offerings to include the host side, according to Eric Wilson, director of business development at Initio.
"With their host adapter business, now we encompass both ends of the wire," Wilson said "We can fine-tune both the host and the target product to maximize throughput by controlling both sides of the bus, and so can provide an economy of scale for the OEM."
End products integrating the emerging 1394 technology include PCs, peripherals, digital camcorders, and game consoles. The technology can support data rates up to 400Mbits/s and allows 63 nodes to be connected on a single bus.
"The challenge for 1394 is the migration to 800Mbit/s speeds, a specification the 1394 Trade Association is developing," Wilson said.
SCSI, on the other hand, is an interface technology that has been employed for more than 20 years. "It's an established, mature protocol," he said. SCSI technology was included in 87% of the enterprise disk drive shipments in 2000, according to IDC, Framingham, Mass.
In the HDD market, the challenges for SCSI are lower-cost competitors such as IDE and ATA on the low end and Fibre Channel, with longer cabling and higher speeds, on the high end, Wilson said.
SCSI is still a viable and popular interface, despite its long tenure, because suppliers have concentrated on maintaining legacy connections, according to Paul Aloisi, president of the SCSI Trade Association.
"You can attach any generation of a SCSI drive to a system and not worry about compatibility," Aloisi said. SCSI suppliers have also increased the technology's speed to keep up with market requirements.
"Disk drive manufacturers need twice the performance every two years, so we double the speed of the bus every two years," he said.
The Ultra320 specification, for example, is SCSI's seventh generation and operates at 320Mbytes/s. The first generation of SCSI products ran at 5Mbytes/s.
The established interface serves the needs of Hewlett-Packard scanners -- a customer Initio acquired with the ConnectCom deal, according to Wilson.
"There are a lot of applications where the OEM, such as HP, wants to know that all the support and software already exists," Wilson said. "From that perspective, SCSI is a low-risk interface."