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Mixed Drives in the Mix

People confused about making decisions concerning Fibre Channel, SATA, and SAS drives might not have to choose between drives at all -- even in the same system. Then again, weeding the options could add to the confusion, at least initially.

For those seeking inclusive drives, many of the major SAN vendors have systems that mix Fibre Channel and SATA drives together. And when SAS drives ship late this year, these Fibre Channel/SATA hybrids will be able to take on those, too (see Report: SATA & SAS to Share Systems).

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) last week followed EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), allowing SATA drives to be used in the same system as Fibre Channel drives (see Hitachi Launches SATA ).

The ability to use Fibre Channel and SATA in systems such as the Hitachi Thunder 9500V, EMC Clariion and NS700, and IBM FastT systems lets users store secondary and archived data on less expensive SATA drives without having to buy new disk arrays.

Of course, mixed systems cost more than SATA-only systems, but they could prove a happy medium for people looking for high-performance drives for mission-critical data and cheaper disk storage for the rest. The products also give administrators fewer systems to manage.

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