ATA-class products, traditionally confined to workstations and desktops, will likely break out of these realms next year, when Serial ATA products with simplified cabling and expanded capabilities hit the market.
However, although most IT managers are looking forward to the release of Serial ATA products, the upcoming Serial SCSI protocol will bring similar benefits and more.
Earlier this month, the SCSI Trade Associations initial development group reached a major milestone in the development of Serial SCSI when it completed its recommendations for the final draft of the specification. The group sent ballots to the rest of the SCSI Trade Association.
Although Serial SCSI products wont be available for a couple of years, the standard could easily have a bigger impact on the server market than Serial ATA because Serial SCSI gear will be more enterprise-oriented.
Serial ATA and Serial SCSI will share the same interconnect, and Serial SCSI developers are working to ensure compatibility so that Serial ATA storage devices can be used in Serial SCSI environments.
Serial SCSI will feature better addressing capabilities for hard drives and other storage devices, boosting simultaneous addressing support to as many as 128 devices from the current limit of 16. Serial ATA, by contrast, allows only one device per connection.
Like Serial ATA, Serial SCSI will offer thinner cables, which should make it easier for server vendors to build smaller, well-cooled servers.
Anything can happen in the standards process, of course, but if the progress on Serial SCSI continues as planned, I expect to see this technology in 2004.