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SAS Wave Breaks Big

Check the storage headlines, and you'll find a lot of "SAS." Serial-attached SCSI products, hyped a couple of years ago as a performance challenger to Fibre Channel with the lower-cost profile of SATA, are finally taking off.

Recent announcements include SAS controllers from Adaptec, AMCC, Atto, and LSI; arrays from Infortrend and Promise; and test equipment from Finisar and LeCroy. (See Adaptec Makes Announcements, ATTO Intros RAID Adapters, LSI Offers Adapters, Infortrend Ships Array, Promise Unveils Products, Finisar Debuts Analyzer, and LeCroy Unveils Analyzer.)

The news follows support of SAS from major vendors, including IBM and HP, late last year, as well as Data Domain via Xyratex componentry more recently. (See IBM Turns to LSI for SAS and Data Domain Taps Xyratex.)

"This pickup in SAS activity is just the start of a sustained ramp-up of the SAS ecosystem over the next several years," states Greg Schulz of the StorageIO Group. He notes that benefits of performance and reliability similar to Fibre Channel, along with features like native dual-port capability, are moving SAS to the forefront of storage demand.

One user, for instance, has deployed SAS drives in EqualLogic's iSCSI storage arrays to activate a new tier of online database processing. "The random data loads from our mobile business services running on Oracle created a serious need for high-performance storage," said Andy Monroe, VP of technology at mobile information services firm AirClic, in a prepared statement. "When we wanted to replace our direct-attached storage, the common misconception was that Fibre Channel was the only choice for performance. But when we ran our high-transaction databases on EqualLogic's new SAS-based array alongside Fibre Channel products from large vendors, the performance... was superior."

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