Many customers have refused, or have been unable, to invest big bucks in Fibre Channel interconnects for storage networking. These customers still rely on direct-attached storage that locks one storage system to one server via a SCSI cable. The drives inside the storage systems also are connected via SCSI.
Five vendors will use Hewlett-Packard's HP World showcase in Atlanta this week to show off technology that's supposed to breathe new life into the old SCSI connector. Adaptec, HP, Intel, Maxtor, and Seagate Technology will be on hand to demonstrate products or discuss their plans for serial-attached SCSI, or SAS.
Adaptec will demonstrate SAS chips that will process information at speeds of 3 Gbps and 5 Gbps. Intel plans to discuss the conditions that are demanding such an increase in performance. HP will exhibit the evolution behind disk drives and controllers to illustrate the natural evolution from parallel to serial connectivity. Maxtor will demonstrate 3.5-inch SAS disk drives and compatibility between the emerging technology and existing serial ATA drives. And Seagate Technology will demonstrate its own 2.5-inch small-form-factor enterprise hard drive.
The vendors need to reassure customers while everyone waits for products to ship about a year from now, an industry analyst said. "This has to do with current thoughts around serial ATA for backup," said IDC analyst Richard Villars. "For vendors to meet cost pressures, they need to design arrays with commonality of function and capability."