Storage groups collaborate, ensure drive re-useability

Two storage groups have announced a merged effort at the Server I/O conference in California this week, to allow next generation Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives to collaborate with Serial ATA (SATA) drives.

The SCSI Trade Association, which promotes SCSI drive technology, and the Serial ATA Working Group will allow SAS interface technology to use SATA drives.

The Serial Attached SCSI standard will eventually replace parallel SCSI, the drive interconnect used in today's servers. SAS products will start to appear in 2004, vendors say.

SAS will be used in servers running mission-critical applications and, in some cases, analysts say, as an alternative to deploying Fibre Channel storage-area networks in price-sensitive situations. IDC says SAS drives will account for about 50 percent of the market by 2005.

The SATA connection is designed for reliable operation in servers that are hosting static Web pages or running file/print applications and to replace parallel ATA implementations. Parallel ATA, which observers say has reached the end of its road, is a technology that was introduced in the 1980s as an interface for PCs and servers. SATA drives are already shipping.

The merged efforts will ensure that customers with SATA drives will be able to use them in servers containing the SAS interface, thus saving money and providing a migration path.

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