SAS/SATA Compatibility: The Word on the Street

Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), the next generation SCSI standard,
provides IT implementers with maximum flexibility in configuring
their storage environments. SAS supports logical compatibility
with Serial ATA (SATA), enabling one storage design to service
both high performance mission-critical storage (SAS) and low
cost bulk storage (SATA).

recently spoke with members of IT departments at medical imaging,
software development and financial companies to discuss their
current storage strategies and their thoughts on the benefits
that SAS can provide. Their responses (summarized below) highlight
the exceptional flexibility and cost-effectiveness that SAS/SATA
compatibility can bring to the enterprise.

is your current storage strategy?

We have multiple storage solutions in use today (FC, SCSI
and SATA) to support the different applications that our company

is your biggest challenge relating to storage?

We have too much data to store and not enough storage space.
The data our employees need to store is just getting larger.
Another problem that we have is backing up the data. The time
it takes to back up all our data is exceeding our backup window.

you familiar with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and/or Serial

We are familiar with SATA, as we have been investigating SATA
near-line storage boxes to help with our backup problem. We
recently attended a storage conference where an audience member
asked about SAS. The presenter unfortunately didn’t
have too much information regarding SAS technology and its
anticipated deployment. However, the few details that were
discussed piqued our interest, and we want find out more about
the technology.

you aware that Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) enclosures can support
SATA hard disk drives?

At the storage conference, the question asked was about the
ability of SAS enclosures to support SATA disk drives. The
idea that we can customize our storage enclosure to support
both mission-critical and low cost storage is very appealing.
This flexibility will allow us to support the company’s
changing storage needs.<

do you envision SATA compatibility fitting into your enterprise?

Currently we use SCSI inside our servers and direct-attached
storage for applications that require high performance, availability
and excellent reliability. We are currently looking at using
SATA drives for near-line storage to reduce our backup time.
Having the ability to use SATA drives in our servers and direct-attached
storage will be very useful for our non-mission critical data
such as archived data files (static data).

do you see as the greatest benefit of SATA compatibility?

Cost. Cost is a large part of building our storage network.
The flexibility that SAS provides by enabling compatibility
with SATA will allow us to save money by using low-cost SATA
drives for non-mission critical applications. This is an enormous
benefit of SAS.

would be the best way for you to learn more about SAS technology,
including SATA compatibility?

Probably the best way would be through education from our
storage vendors, either through web-based seminars, on-site
presentations or at conferences. Articles in publications
like Storage and Computer Technology Review would also would
reach our IT personnel.

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