Broadcom Hoping To Bring NAS Home

With the increase of broadband connections, digital imaging and file sharing, home networks continue to require more storage. Broadcom hopes to tap into that need for storage with their new NAS on chip solution announced today.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) has traditionally been a solution only for businesses, mainly because of the cost. Broadcom’s “NAS on a Chip” (NASoaC) is aimed at both business and home use, and according to the company, will make NAS an affordable reality for networks in need of a centralized storage solution.

The Broadcom BCM7480 NASoaC controller is aimed at consumers, SoHo environments and small businesses where such devices had previously been too expensive or hard to use for the average user. The BCM4780 might change that, by providing a low-cost NAS that doesn’t require software or drivers and is instantly recognized on the network.

Broadcom spokesman Henry Rael said products featuring the NASoaC will be available for consumers in the Q3 2004 time frame and will be much more affordable than today’s solutions. Networked storage based on Broadcom’s chip may cost around $200 including a drive, and about $99 without a hard drive.

The NASoaC design is easy to install and configure because it uses the universal Plug and Play protocol. The system has built-in security features as well as RAID, so it can automatically mirror its contents to another drive, providing additional security and protection of valuable personal and business data.

According to the company, BCM4780-based NAS systems will offer a very simple installation and setup procedure that requires no need for user configuration or knowledge of IP addresses. An auto-discovery feature automatically adds the NAS device to all attached clients upon connection to the network.

For more advanced users, BCM4780-based storage products will offer a full range of powerful security and configuration modes, including enterprise-level features, such as RAID 0, 1 and 10 functionality with support for up to four hard disk drives in a single system.

Each disk drive can be made “hot-swappable,” allowing the user to easily replace or upgrade drives, with built-in features for online repair capability. Data on the drives can also be encrypted, selectively or in total, with real-time encryption powered by a hardware AES (advanced encryption system) engine integrated into the processor.

The chip also features USB connectivity, both as a host and a client, allowing NASoaC based systems to be used as external drives or to act as print servers for USB printers. Also integrated into the chip is both wired and wireless networking, S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring and a Web-based configuration tool. The chip features embedded Linux on a 300 MHz MIPS32 CPU core.

For more information on the Broadcom NASoaC, visit Broadcom’s Website.