Tech Heavyweights Team Up on Serial Disk Demo

Five tech companies are teaming to demonstrate new serial disk technology at this week’s HP World conference.

Adaptec, HP, Intel, Maxtor, and Seagate will showcase Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) technology at the Atlanta show, including the first 2.5- and 3.5-inch SAS disk drives and the first prototype SAS chip architected to run at 3 and 6 gigabits per second. The firms will also demonstrate the interoperability of Serial ATA (SATA) and SAS disk drives, a key selling point of the new serial technologies.

Adaptec will demonstrate the SAS chip, which the company says will speed time-to-market of first-generation SAS products and smooth the migration to second-generation SAS solutions. Maxtor will debut 3.5-inch SAS disk drives and demonstrate the compatibility of SAS and SATA drives, which will allow the creation of flexible systems for a broad range of storage needs. Seagate will unveil a 2.5-inch Small Form Factor (SFF) enterprise hard drive for high-density computing. The smaller drives will save space and reduce cooling needs, the companies say.

SAS drives will debut commercially in the second half of 2004, according to Kevin Gray, Maxtor’s business development manager for the Server Products Group. SATA products have already hit the market.

SATA drives offer the cheapest cost per gigabyte, but SAS drives offer greater reliability and performance and lower total cost of ownership, says Tonya Comer, HP’s advanced technology marketing manager for Server Storage.

That makes SAS technology ideal for transactional data that must be accessed all the time, while SATA drives are attractive for reference data that isn’t
in constant use, says Linus Wong, Adaptec’s director of strategic marketing for the Server Solutions Group.

Because SAS backplanes support SATA drives, both drives can be included in a single system, creating a “unique system that can address two markets,” Wong

The companies report that they will demonstrate an interoperable SAS and SATA system next week that addresses both transactional and reference data needs.

OEMs and IT managers will have the flexibility to configure drive arrays with either or both drive technologies, the companies say, enabling the use of both high-performance and low-cost storage in the same server or networked storage subsystem. Serial Attached SCSI solutions feature data transfer rates of 3 gigabits per second, with a roadmap to 12 gigabits per second, for bandwidth-intensive applications such as mainline storage, video editing, and streaming video and audio in direct-attached, networked-attached, and networked storage environments.

HP will also display previous generations of hard disk drives, carriers, and controllers, illustrating the product revisions that have led to the move from parallel to serial infrastructure. Intel will also discuss factors that are coming together to accelerate the development of SAS solutions.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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