HP ProLiant Serial Family: Increased Performance, Flexibility and Scalability

Author: Tonya Comer, Product Marketing Manager, Industry Standard Servers,

IT managers have traditionally had scant flexibility when choosing a data center storage solution. Their options were limited to separate systems based on parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA), Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) or Fibre Channel disk interfaces. These storage options constrained the IT manager’s ability to deploy and redeploy core technologies, thereby often adding a significant cost and management burden to the overall enterprise. With the advent of serial I/O architectures, key solution providers, such as HP, can now provide one system or storage solution that will meet the requirements for a broad range of storage applications. This will enable IT managers to standardize on a single server or storage platform, dramatically reducing the complexities of managing storage applications in today’s data center.

HP’s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA (SATA) solutions are the next generation in storage technology, offering better performance, flexibility and scalability. HP has been instrumental in driving the direction of SAS and SATA technologies within the industry. HP designs solutions that are the most advanced and most thoroughly tested, in order to provide the best customer experience possible. HP has ensured that key contributors are unified in the industry direction and development of this monumental technology.

The direction that HP is taking this technology is based on feedback from users—overwhelmingly, the customer has requested a transition from the existing SCSI platforms to the small form factor (SFF) SAS platform. Product development addresses customer pains relating to heat management of newer generation processors by creating drives that draw half the power of their predecessors. It also addresses concerns around physical space constraints, as well as general IT issues such as performance, metrics and density.

Why serial now?
Parallel SCSI and parallel ATA have reached their technological limits. Parallel connectors are too big for new high-density server and storage products and the bulky cabling limits airflow. In addition, cross talk over the cables is making system design more complicated, resulting in increased backplane and cabling costs. Electrical challenges are being encountered while attempting to increase parallel I/O speeds to accommodate HDD data rate increases. SAS greatly helps to reduce these issues while providing customers unprecedented flexibility and scalability.

SAS—next evolution of SCSI interface
SAS is the next-generation storage solution for your enterprise environment. SAS integrates two established technologies, combining proven utility, reliability and performance attributes of the SCSI protocol with the performance advantages of serial architecture. SAS dramatically simplifies IT support by enabling one storage system to meet a broad range of price, performance, and availability requirements, while ensuring the flexibility to change with business requirements. You can configure your systems with SATA (high capacity/low performance/low cost) or SAS (high performance/ mission critical) drives on a SAS backplane.

SAS technology enables OEMS, VARs and Integrators to re-use designs and more readily broaden product offerings. For customers, serial technologies will allow the ultimate configuration flexibility and simplicity in their storage environments. As storage requirements change, the customer can easily transition between storage technologies (SCSI and ATA) without an entire infrastructure upgrade.

SAS highlights include:

  • 3.0 Gb/s, full duplex, dual-port serial links
  • Point-to-point switched topology
  • SAS combines best-in-class attributes
    • Parallel SCSI (command set)
    • Fibre Channel (frame formats)
    • SATA (physical compatibility)
  • SAS expanders provide scalability
  • Supports SAS and SATA drives
  • Designed for mission-critical data storage
  • Best price for performance, including a 3-year warranty

There are a number of customer and engineering advantages to SAS technology.

  • Customer advantages:
    • Enhances enterprise architecture based on familiar and proven SCSI technology
    • Devices continue to deliver best-in-class performance and reliability metrics
    • Designed for 24×7 usage
    • Configuration flexibility and simplicity
    • Improved performance and reliability features
    • Scalable I/O with future growth roadmap
    • Traditional SCSI software and middleware
  • Engineering advantages:
    • Simplified cabling
    • Thinner cables improve airflow and allow for superior dense architectural design
    • Smaller connectors facilitate use of SFF hard disk drives
    • Universal backplane design allows users to customize the type of enterprise (SAS) or cost-effective (SATA) storage they require
    • Simplified signal routing enables dense solutions

SATA—next evolution of ATA interface
SATA offers customers and system builders the lowest acquisition cost by leveraging the volume of the desktop market, and adding entry-level functionality such as hot plug and command queuing. SATA should be used with servers and bulk storage that utilize non-mission critical and non-HDD-intensive applications, where minimal downtime is acceptable. This includes such applications as static web pages, firewall, domain name server (DNS) and file- and print-server applications. Low-cost bulk storage for reference data repositories and nearline tape augmentation are other primary uses of SATA drives. Customers are strongly encouraged to use SAS HDD for their mission-critical and HDD-intensive applications.

SATA highlights include:

  • 1.5 Gb/s half duplex, single-port serial links
  • Point-to-point topology
  • ATA command set
  • Positioned for non-mission critical storage
  • Lowest cost-per-GB disk drives
  • Includes a one-year warranty

Hard disk drives
HP 3.0 Gb/s SAS drives provide the best price-for-performance solutions for server and storage boxes. These drives are ideal for mission-critical, high duty-cycle applications.




SATA disk drives
HP SATA 1.5 Gb/s drives provide the lowest cost-per-gigabyte storage solution for server and storage boxes. These drives are ideal for non-mission-critical, low duty-cycle applications.

About ATA

  • HP Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) UDMA 100 hard drives offer a spindle speed of 7200 rpm and a maximum transfer rate of 100 MB/s.
  • This traditional technology is designed to deliver high capacities at the best price for entry-level server environments.





  • Hard drives are provided with firmware specifically optimized for performance and integration into an HP system.
  • All firmware is tested and verified to provide the highest level of integrity, error recovery and functionality.

Array controllers and host bus adapters
The innovative design and integration work of the HP Smart Array family of products creates customer value unmatched in the industry. Use of HP Smart Arrays and controllers across multiple applications results in a lower total cost of ownership for IT infrastructures.

Smart Array P600
The HP Smart Array P600 eight-port SAS controller provides new levels of performance and reliability for HP servers through its support of the latest SCSI technology and advanced RAID capabilities. The first of a new generation of SAS Smart Array controllers, the SA-P600 once again raises the standards of performance by offering twice the bandwidth of a four-channel Ultra320 SCSI array controller.


  • Supports 3.0 Gb SAS (3.0 Gb/s bandwidth per port)/ 1.5 Gb/s SATA
  • High-performance 64-bit/133 MHz PCI-X interface
  • 256 MB DDR battery-backed write cache (BBWC), upgradeable to 512 MB BBWC


  • Support for RAID 0, 1, 1+0, 5, and 6 Advanced Data Guarding
  • Recovery ROM support
  • On-line spare support
  • Drive roaming

Using HP’s patented Advanced Data Guarding (ADG), you can safely deploy large numbers of disk drives and create large storage volumes. RAID 6 also offers lower implementation costs and greater usable capacity per U than RAID 1+0.


  • Industry-standard 1.5 Gb/s SATA interface
  • Performance 64-bit/66 MHz interface
  • 64 MB of memory for use for RAID and Read Cache to reduce response times


  • Support for RAID 0, 1, 1+0 and 5
  • On-line spare support
  • Drive roaming




External SCSI enclosures

HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array 50 enclosure
The HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array 50 Enclosure (MSA50) is a 1U SAS disk drive storage enclosure supporting SFF SAS or SATA drives. This enclosure delivers industry-leading data performance, availability, storage density, and upgradeability to meet customers’ demanding and growing storage needs.

  • 1U rack height
  • Support for up to 10 SFF SAS or SATA Universal hard disk drives
  • Storage capacity of up to 720 MB per enclosure (using 72 GB 10K disk drives)
  • Cascadable 1+1 for up to 20 spindles in a 2U configuration or 1.44 TB
  • Hot pluggable disk drives, fans and power supplies

Why HP?
HP is the world leader in non-outsourced network storage services with 65,000 service professionals in 160 countries. Included among these are 5,000 storage specialists and 4,500 Cisco specialists.

HP has one of the world’s largest, most specialized forces of consultants, combined with the broadest choice of technology platforms in the industry and proven experience designing and delivering comprehensive, end-to-end, best-in-class e-learning solutions.

Industry expertise
The HP solution is based on cost-effective industry standard technology that can be easily integrated and scaled up with the potential to support millions of users. HP provides comprehensive, end-to-end solutions including hardware, software and services.

Open standards
The HP solution is very modular and is built on open standards. This allows for a high degree of customization to fit your specific needs and requirements.

HP offers unique products and solutions, proven methodology and full-lifecycle service capabilities to manage your project—from business requirements to implementation.

HP Customer Support
HP Customer Support provides a broad spectrum of services to commercial and enterprise customers, including performance and availability services such as proactive mission-critical services and support management services for deployment of the entire IT infrastructure, covering HP and multi-vendor environments. For more information on these services, contact your HP sales representative or visit www.hp.com/hps/support.

For more information
To learn more about HP ProLiant serial family please contact your HP representative, HP reseller or partner or visit:



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