The initiative's purpose is to improve how slot-oriented Solid State Drive (SSD) devices can be configured to improve I/O performance. The externally-accessible backplane slot-based drive architecture will be fully compatible for use with existing SAS/SATA storage devices as well as new devices designed to achieve higher performance.
A new form-factor compatible connector will extend SAS to a 4-port configuration. When running at 12Gb/s, a single slot will be capable of providing up to 96Gb/s of bandwidth (full duplex). Additional signals will be provided for general purpose use within the same connector. The MultiLink SAS architecture is a slot-compatible implementation and will accommodate a variety of SSD form factors as well as existing Hard Disk Drives (HDDs).
Minimizing the impact to protocol changes makes MultiLink SAS primarily an enhancement to the existing connector. It was decided to maintain the existing Small Form Factor (SFF) slot dimensions for ease of refitting an existing system and for providing maximum system flexibility for storage OEMs.