Hints of Light Peak: In progress, but not ready yet

The next-generation Light Peak storage interface looks promising, but Intel is still developing it.

At the Storage Visions conference today, I've been hearing updates on storage connection interfaces, like the state of USB 3.0 (it's going to be everywhere), the WiGig Alliance for faster Wi-Fi transfers, and Intel's jackalope-like Light Peak interface.

Light Peak first surfaced at Intel's Developer Forum in 2009. And in 2010, the company demoed the technology with LaCie. But details on the technology's market plans remain thin, at best; Intel has remained strangely silent.

While LaCie's senior engineer, Mike Mihalik, addressed Light Peak during his discussion of storage interfaces, he didn't give much hope for an imminent debut.

"Intel has been the driving force for this technology. What we know for sure about Light Peak is that we know how to spell it," jokes Mihalik. "And that it's intended to be a high-speed interface and it will support almost any protocol for transferring information from A to B."

The interface can support 10Gbps throughput, and will grow up to up to 100Gbps over the next decade. Another advantage: Light Peak will be able to support longer, thinner cables and smaller connectors.

The tech demo LaCie participated in back in September 2010 showed data transfers running at 700Mbps. So what's next?

"Development needs to continue and we need to debug before we can turn the technology into a product," reports Mihalik.

Check out our complete coverage of CES 2010.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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