Next-Gen SCSI: More for Less

Servers using the new generation of serial-attached SCSI hard drives could cost up to 15 percent less than today's standard SCSI systems.

NEW YORK—Servers using the new generation of serial-attached SCSI hard drives will cost up to 15 percent less than todays standard SCSI systems, according to representatives of Hewlett-Packard Co.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., will transition its various server lines to SAS in mid-to-late 2004, officials said at the here.

SAS technology, demonstrated here in prototype drives made by Seagate Technology LLC of Scotts Valley, Calif., and using controllers from Adaptec Inc., of Milpitas, Calif., features 3G-bps connections and dual ports, officials noted. Customers initially will be able to manually configure the ports for failover purposes.

In the 6G-bps SAS 2.0, due in 2005 or later, vendors like HP will offer factory configurations of the ports connected for greater bandwidth. Another doubling of bandwidth will come with SAS 3.0, officials said. Also, the future generations will offer non-volatile cache, they said.

Adaptec, HP and Seagate also are some of the vendors developing serial Advanced Technology Architecture drives and related products. The current parallel ATA drives are increasingly being used in non-mission-critical enterprise storage arrays, but some vendors, like HP, are waiting until this fall to ship serial versions from their arrays inception, officials said.

Existing SCSI and drives will still have their place in high-end servers, officials said, since ATA technology lacks the data integrity, anti-vibration and block queuing characteristics of SCSI and Fibre Channel for high-end storage uses.

Both serial-attached SCSI and serial ATA enable smaller form-factor drives, and vendors can save by combining development efforts, officials observed.

The industry is mostly past the initial manufacturing problems found in early serial-connected drives, officials of Lake Forest, Calif.-based Western Digital Corp. said.