Serial SCSI Hard Drives on Distant Horizon

SCSI hardware with serial interfaces promise to be easier to configure than current SCSI connections and will have easier-to-handle cabling.

Enterprise IT managers who desire serial SCSI hard drives will get their wish by the second half of 2004, officials of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc. said Tuesday.

SCSI hardware with serial interfaces will be much easier to configure than current SCSI connections and will have easier-to-handle cabling, vendors promise. Technical work has long been under way at the Serial-Attached SCSI Trade Association and the International Committee for Information Technology Standards T10 Working Group.

"We will do a staggered rollout targeting the largest OEM customers first," such as Dell Computer Corp., EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Ltd., IBM, Network Appliance Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc., said Doug Pickford, director of markets and product strategy, in San Jose, Calif. No firm timeline has been announced, but HGST will save at least one calendar quarter by working now with component vendors like LSI Logic Corp., of Milpitas, Calif., Pickford said. HGST and LSI will share debugging and testing information, officials from both companies said Tuesday.

Pricing for future drives with the new interfaces should be approximately the same as todays SCSI drives. But users will see lower prices for the drives in servers and arrays because of the serial interfaces lower cabling costs, Pickford said.

HGST will build the interface into future 2.5-inch drives and into future versions of its current enterprise drives, he said. The current drives in the Ultrastar series include 10,000-rpm and 15,000-rpm models, originating from both Hitachi and IBM. Those companies merged their drive divisions to form HGST last year.

HGST is not alone with serial SCSI plans. Maxtor Corp., also of Milpitas, and Seagate Technology LLC, of Scotts Valley, Calif., both declined to say when general availability of their products will be, relative to Hitachis second-half 2004 timeframe. But Maxtor will ship to OEM partners late this year, while Seagate will do the same in the first half of 2004, officials said.

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