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Interoperability Lab Plugs SAS

Trying to avoid the mistakes of their SCSI predecessors, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) vendors have completed their third interoperability test -- a.k.a. plugfest -- at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).

After more than 100 engineers gathered earlier this month to kick the tires of 21 vendors SAS gear, David Woolf, head of the UNH-IOL SAS testing group, pronounced the technology ready for primetime. For most participants, the test was the last plugfest before SAS products ship, and the last before the first shipment of any SAS drives.

The plugfests were held to ensure that SAS products manufactured by different companies will interoperate with other vendors’ SAS and Serial ATA (SATA) wares. SATA interoperability is an issue because SAS and SATA drives will share space in the same storage systems next year (see Vendors Strut Their SAS, Mixed Drives in the Mix, and Report: SATA & SAS to Share Systems).

An executive of one SAS vendor says testing is also especially important for this technology because original SCSI drives had serious interoperability issues that weren’t discovered until after they shipped.

“When SCSI came out, there were an ungodly amount of compatibility issues,” the executive says. “Hookups to HBAs and RAID adapters wouldn’t work, and SCSI vendors got hit pretty hard.”

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