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Petabyte arrays pursue SAS trend

Posted: 14 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:storage array? Serial Attached SCSI? SAS drives?

A storage array company underscores the rapid shift to serial attached SCSI (SAS) drives as it debuted its latest system Nov. 12. DataDirect Networks will shift from Fibre Channel to SAS and serial ATA drives for its S2A9900 that can house up to 1.2petabytes of storage in two racks.

"All the long term road maps are running to SAS and we are getting on that course," said Josh Goldstein, vice president of product marketing for the company that has sold 3,000 arrays to date.

DataDirect aims to let users mix and match in its array relatively low cost SATA drives for archival storage or high performance SAS drives for active data recovery, something Fibre Channel cannot handle. The shift also means Data Direct can eliminate Fibre Channel bridge chips and expand beyond the 128 drives supported on a Fibre Channel loop.

"The flip to SAS from Fibre Channel has already largely occurred, and a year from now it will be even more dramatic with this sector probably consisting of no more than 15-20 percent Fibre Channel drives," said Mark Geenen, president of market watcher TrendFocus.

In the most recent quarter, SAS made up 4.3 million of 7.4 million total enterprise-class disk drive shipments. Fibre Channel accounted for a little more than two million units, and the rest were drives using the older SCSI interface.

"Fibre Channel drives will be around for years into the future because of the investment that companies have made in the technologyand although there will be a few companies that remain staunch fans, and push for higher speeds, SAS will grow to be the primary mission critical interface," said a spokesman for Seagate Technology.

Fibre Channel remains a significant presence in storage networking. DataDirect, for example, upgraded the external interconnect options for its latest array to 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel and 20 Gbit/s Infiniband.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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