Serial-Attached Technology a Fixture at CeBIT

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Serial-attached storage is slated to have a major presence at the CeBIT America show in New York City this week. Storage players Adaptec, HP, and Seagate
plan to introduce a new interface that works with both Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA (SATA) to help businesses cut their IT infrastructure costs.

The companies claim Serial Attached SCSI and Serial ATA compatibility offers companies the ability to plug disk drives employing both technologies into the same system, giving IT managers, system integrators, and original equipment manufacturers “unprecedented disk storage” and a lower total cost of ownership.

Specifically, storage device maker Adaptec, IT giant HP, and disk drive maker Seagate believe their Serial Attached SCSI interconnect will make it easier for organizations to manage disk storage based on the performance and capacity requirements of different data types, from reference data such as electronic documents to transactional data such as bank transactions.

The vendors say customers will enjoy a better price performance ratio from such products because Serial ATA drives will provide cost-effective capacity for reference data, while Serial Attached SCSI drives will deliver high performance, reliability, and software management compatibility for transactional data. Brought together in one interface, the two technologies will give enterprises the ability to upgrade from Serial ATA to Serial Attached SCSI drives without having to purchase new equipment.

Akin to virtualization technology and the SMI-S initiative in terms of the buzz around its potential for improving data storage, serial-attached storage has been gaining momentum in the industry of late. Many IT experts have found it less expensive, more scalable, and more efficient than other modes of data transfer, such as parallel technologies. Serial technologies transfer data packets one at a time, while parallel technologies transfer data concurrently.

Nancy Marrone, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group (ESG), confirms companies are expecting to benefit from serial technologies. Marrone says if a user can buy a system that can use either disk technology, they can choose when to use higher end Serial Attached SCSI versus SATA depending on business requirements and costs. “That alone will make the technology pretty attractive compared to parallel ATA [and traditional SCSI].”

“ESG thinks that Serial ATA is catching on for two reasons — the first is, of course, cost. SATA is a great low cost alternative for secondary storage solutions (some organizations may feel comfortable with SATA being their primary disk, but we haven’t seen much of that in the enterprise as of yet),” says Marrone. “Vendors are working to make Serial Attached SCSI drives compatible with Serial ATA drives. This level of interchangeability will both reduce production costs for vendors and provide users with a level of flexibility they never had before.”

Other benefits of the Serial Attached SCSI interconnect include data transfer rates of 3 gigabits/second with a roadmap to 12 gigabits/second; dual porting for improved redundancy; expander hardware to make scalable storage configurations of more than 16,000 mixed Serial Attached SCSI and Serial ATA disk drives; and thinner cables and smaller connectors than traditional parallel technologies, allowing for better chassis airflow and cooling, simpler cable routing, and the ability to design smaller form factor hard drives for high-density computing.

Milpitas, Calif.’s Adaptec, Palo Alto, Calif.’s HP and Scotts Valley, Calif.’s Seagate will be on hand to demonstrate the interoperability of the disk drives Wednesday through Friday at booth 2419 in the Jacob K. Javits Center.

This story originally appeared on Internet News.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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