Serial Attached SCSI – Providing More for Less

Author: Harry Mason
LSI Logic Corporation

storage consumption continues to grow at a phenomenal pace,
spending on Information Technology (IT) has been, and is projected
to be, flat to slow when viewed in the aggregate. This low-growth
environment drives the market to seek more efficient ways
to accommodate the unabated creation of more and more data.
In order to manage this torrent of stored data, concepts like
Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) have emerged. This
and other innovative concepts enable suppliers and end users
to more efficiently provision tiered pools of storage in the
face of constrained IT spending.

With the
complex demands being placed on data, demands that vary throughout
the data’s lifecycle, it’s doubtful a single disk
drive can ever service the entire range of market needs. It
seems the market will always be bifurcated by its demand for
drives that both target the enterprise’s need for performance
and high availability, and desktop-class deployments that
emphasize cost and capacity.

Attached SCSI (SAS) is the first and only data storage connection
scheme that resolves these conflicting data center needs.
Never before has the market been able to use a single connection
scheme to support both enterprise- and desktop-class drives.
This common infrastructure can be used to service a broad
range of market needs, while also enabling IT resources to
be dynamically re-purposed to meet the changing demands on
data throughout its lifecycle.

In addition
to providing native Serial ATA (SATA) compatibility, SAS is
also welcomed as an industry-standard means to advance the
otherwise limited SATA architecture. Using SAS controllers
and expanders, SATA topologies can be scaled in applications
that require greater degrees of addressability, and to support
other enterprise capabilities such as fail-over.

Attached SCSI simplifies the way complex storage needs are
met, and creates new levels of efficiency that the market
is just now beginning to explore. The following examples of
SAS implementation illustrate the growing need for greater
efficiencies in storage deployment, and explain why leading
storage OEMs are committed to delivering systems that embrace
Serial Attached SCSI.

SAS deployments include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • A simple
    SCSI replacement scheme in standard high-volume servers
  • A
    means for lowering the cost of ILM by enabling users to
    intermix enterprise- and desktop-class drives, utilizing
    common cables, connectors, enclosures, power supplies and
  • Efficiently
    servicing a mix of customers (some requiring SCSI drives,
    others demanding SATA drives) with a single product offering
    (Servers, Workstations, etc.)
  • Scaling
    Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) environments that demand legacy
    SCSI middleware compatibility
  • A means
    for delivering “more capable” and/or “more
    complex” SATA topologies

New and
innovative ways for deploying SAS will continue to emerge,
promising to provide our ever-demanding customers with more…
for less.

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