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Unfortunately, this storage evolution isn't coming next week, next month, or maybe not even next year.
6Gb/s SAS components have been broadly announced by a number of storage vendors. LSI is developing 6Gb/s controllers/Raid-on-Chip, expanders, host bus adapters (HBAs), MegaRAID adapters and external storage systems. But don't expect anything to be released until mid-2009. The industry's first 6Gb/s SAS plugfest, meanwhile, isn't planned until the fourth quarter. That's where the first batch of multi-vendor interoperability testing will be done.
"End-user products/solutions typically are not available until 12 to 18 months after the first plugfest," said So. "Therefore, expect 6Gb/s SAS-based server and external storage solutions in late 2009 or early 2010."
You'll see additional activity and announcements from vendors throughout this year and into next. Certified systems will begin to appear perhaps by mid-2009. Further, watch out for tons of 6G/sec capable announcements. For example, Seagate has already announced that its Savvio 10K 300GB product will be 6G/sec capable. The company sees this as a possible combo for tiered storage environments of the near future.
"Previously, 1TB drives were only available in the SATA interface, but for the operations who are looking to simplify their infrastructure by settling on a unified interface approach, SAS is the answer," said Fabian. "You can now settle on high-performance tier-one storage with the Seagate Savvio small form factor drive, and include the 1TB Barracuda ES drive, also in SAS."
It should be noted, however, that for 6Gb/s SAS to be viable, the entire infrastructure must be in place. It's all very well to have super-fast drives, but if the supporting components aren't up to speed, you won't gain the full value. But that infrastructure will be put in place rapidly over the next couple of years.
Ultimately, parallel technology is definitely on its way out. Just as floppy disks and video tapes are gone, gone, gone from the shelves, it will soon be the same way with parallel SCSI drives.
"Starting in the first half of next year, you will see drive manufacturers discontinuing the production of the older parallel SCSI drives," said Fabian. "This is the same thing that happened on desktop with the move to Serial ATA over Parallel ATA."
And what about a response from the FC community will we see an 8Gig FC disk drive? Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO Group, said maybe.
"However, it's safer to assume that there is a lot of headroom on 6G SAS and in particular 2.5-inch SFF SAS drives," said Schulz. "Over time, we will see some of the 4 Gig FC drive market share transitioning over to 6G SAS."