NACIO Systems on SAS and Investment Protection

recently met with a group of Value-Added Resellers (VARs)
to get their insights into today’s storage market. Representing
one of those VARs was Vince Conroy, Chief Technology Officer
of NACIO Systems, a full-service provider of managed hosting,
storage and connectivity solutions for businesses that rely
on the Internet for daily operations. In the following interview
Mr. Conroy shares his views on how Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)
will help his customers protect their storage investments.

benefits do you see in Serial Attached SCSI retaining the
standard SCSI command set?
The industry has refined the SCSI command set over
the past 20 years to enable ever faster, more sophisticated
and robust interfaces. Rather than creating a new standard,
SAS leverages that investment to bring our customers the highest
levels of system reliability, performance and manageability.

are some of the biggest challenges your customers face as
they expand their storage infrastructure to keep pace with
the growing volume of data they are generating?

Almost without exception, our customers face the competing
pressures of flat or reduced IT spending and the need to expand
their storage infrastructure. They’re very conservative
in investing in new technologies and doing all they can to
extend the useful life of legacy or existing hardware to control
IT costs.

type of data do you expect to account for the bulk of your
customers’ storage growth?
Our customers are seeing huge increases in the volume
of email, attachments, electronic documents, CAD/CAM, medical
and check images, multimedia content and other reference data.

do you see the greatest opportunity for investment protection
with SAS?
By supporting both Serial Attached SCSI and Serial
ATA disk drives, SAS connectors will give our customers the
flexibility to standardize on a single enclosure for either
infrequently accessed fixed content data or high-demand, high-bandwidth
information. This will reduce inventory, procurement, qualification,
training and testing costs.

important are new high-availability features found in SAS
such as dual-ported drives, point-to-point connectivity, and
multi-initiator support?

These features will be very important in providing users with
faster, more reliable access to data, increasing user uptime,
and reducing total IT costs.

do you currently expand your storage today, and how will Serial
Attached SCSI simplify the way you expand your storage and
reduce related costs?

Unlike parallel SCSI, which is limited to 15 drives per connection,
a SAS controller easily scales to 50- to 100-drive configurations,
making it much easier and more cost-effective to grow capacity
by allowing end users to seamlessly add new storage to existing

important is it for your customers’ long-term investment
protection that the SAS performance roadmap starts at 3Gbit/sec
and extends to 12 Gbit/sec?

This is vitally important. Our customers can invest in Serial
Attached SCSI systems once they’re available and be
assured that they can upgrade to future versions of SAS without
a major investment since they will be backward compatible
with existing hardware.

will Serial Attached SCSI help with storage management aspects
of an Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) strategy?

By supporting both reference and transactional data in the
same system, the SAS interconnect will allow our customers
to easily migrate data from high-performance to low cost-per-gigabyte
storage as the data ages and is less frequently accessed by

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