Today’s companies have limited flexibility when choosing a data center storage solution. Their options have been restricted to separate systems based on ATA, SCSI, or Fibre Channel disk interfaces. These storage options inhibit the IT manager’s ability to deploy and redeploy core technologies, thereby adding significant cost and management burden to the enterprise. With the advent of serial I/O architectures, key solution providers can now provide one system or storage solution that will meet the requirements of a broad range of storage applications, while at the same time reducing total cost of ownership. This will enable IT managers to standardize on a single server or storage platform, which can dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of managing the wide variety of storage applications in today’s data center.
Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) technology empowers customers to deploy a standardized server product while providing the flexibility to “customize” storage. Low-cost Serial ATA (SATA) disks will be ideal for near-line applications, while SAS disk performance and uptime requirements will meet the needs of mainstream server and storage applications. Users may decide to deploy a single model of server or storage enclosure across the enterprise, and then customize the hard drives based on the individual requirements–another key benefit of this serialized architecture and its ability to lower the total cost of ownership.
By leveraging leading OEM and IHV investment in current interface standards, the capability to produce and deliver Serial Attached SCSI solutions will be very achievable. Compatibility means that system OEMs can now sell an upgrade package simply by selling new drives. For customers, it also provides the best investment protection by allowing them to customize the storage configurations within their systems.
SAS/SATA compatibility enables VARs and integrators to easily configure a custom system for an individual customer, simply by installing the preferred disks. VARs no longer need to worry about installing the proper backplane, cables, and drives. Instead, they can simply populate the backplane with the desired drive type. Additional benefits include reduced inventory costs, easier product differentiation and simplified training.
End users benefit from the cost reductions that SAS/SATA compatibility provides to backplane manufacturers, system OEMs and VARs. The ability to change from SATA to SAS drives without purchasing new systems simplifies the upgrade process and helps future-proof end-user investments.
Additionally, IT managers are increasingly faced with maintaining several classes of storage systems to handle the full spectrum of storage applications required in today’s data center. Managing multiple storage systems adds complexity and cost that require additional management resources and skills. Serial Attached SCSI will reduce the cost and complexity by enabling system managers to meet a wide range of application requirements with a single storage system. Storage systems based on SAS will spawn new capabilities. For example, disk-enhanced backup can now be integrated within an array serving mainstream applications. High-availability SATA drives can be used for online applications.
Serial Attached SCSI is the logical SCSI technology evolution, ensuring the flexibility required to meet the cost requirements of future generations of storage systems and applications. The introduction of SAS will enable the development of more cost-efficient storage solutions for both developers and end users. With a single server or storage platform solution, the cost and complexity of managing the multiplicity of storage applications required in today’s data center will be dramatically reduced.