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The long-awaited replacement for parallel SCSI technology will begin to appear on the storage market in the next few months, with the introduction of serial attached SCSI (SAS) servers and storage systems.
The SCSI Trade Association (STA) held an interoperability "plugfest" at UNH-IOL last month attended by about 20 vendors. With "system builds" of more than 110 drives assembled through the cooperation of controller, HBA, expander, enclosure, drive and test equipment vendors, the technology is finally ready for prime time after three years in development.
"This puts us on the doorstep for some significant product announcements in the next few months," STA president Harry Mason of LSI Logic told Enterprise Storage Forum.
Indeed, HP will be one of the first big vendors to begin shipping SAS products next month when it outfits its entire ProLiant server line with 2.5-inch SAS drives and begins adding them to its StorageWorks MSA line too.
"We're right on the cusp of shipping," said Rich Palmer, HP's director of product marketing for servers, storage, networks and infrastructure.
HP will continue to produce parallel SCSI drives, but expects that by next year, SAS technology will predominate.
Maxtor's Marty Czekalski agrees. "We see a very strong switchover to SAS in the next couple of years," he said.
The new serial interface provides a "dramatic improvement over parallel," Czekalski said, with a lower cost than Fibre Channel drives and a simpler configuration than FC SANs.
SAS backplanes also support serial ATA (SATA) drives, allowing for "cost-effective tiered storage," said Adaptec's Linus Wong.
"We're finding a lot of enthusiasm among end users," Wong said.
The SCSI Trade Association has also launched a free newsletter on SAS, available at www.serialstoragewire.com.