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2008 forecast: SAS takes storage'[TM]s center stage.

'SATA today, SAS tomorrow' was the storage industry's mantra in early 2007. SATA was happily satisfying most storage application requirements and 3G SAS was only just beginning to enter the lexicon. But as the year progressed, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), SCSI's serial replacement technology, evolved to become last year's principal storage trend as it joined forces with SATA to begin supplanting the aging parallel SCSI interface.

SATA continued to serve environments that required capacity and sustained data rates while SAS naturally emerged to compete with the Fibre Channel interface at the high end, making inroads into database applications that mandated greater expandability and higher random performance. The symbiotic nature of these two storage technologies will create exiting opportunities for companies like AMCC to satisfy the demand for high performance, high capacity RAID controllers, both SAS and SATA.

Even as the numbers of SAS RAID controllers begin to multiply in data center-installations in 2008, SATA will remain the cost- and performance-optimized interface for the majority of value-end storage appliances that employ a fixed number of drives to serve vertical applications like high performance computing and video surveillance. Mission critical applications that require higher levels of availability and native expansion, on the other hand, will increasingly rely on SAS. Accordingly, SAS will advance to dominate the direct-attach server space, parallel SCSIs former foothold.

RAID controller companies lacking robust SATA solutions in their serial product lineup will put their customers at a competitive disadvantage in 2008. They will be forced to continue to market SAS as a 'one size fits all' technology. It is not. The SAS interface alone is not a unified or universal solution. The coexistence of the two serial soul mates, SAS and SATA, will help establish inexpensive tiered storage hierarchies. Consequently, integrators will enjoy unprecedented flexibility and choice when deciding which interface technology will best satisfy specific customer requirements as they build systems for their particular real-world storage environments.

Whether system integrators require SAS, SATA or blended SAS/SATA connectivity, there are storage vendors who provide the right tool for the job. Indeed, the new mantra in the storage industry in 2008 may very well prove to be 'SATA today, SAS today.'

Charles Eischen is senior marketing manager for AMCC. www.AMCC.com

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Title Annotation:Serial Attached SCSI; AMCC
Author:Eischen, Charles
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Words:374
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