Adaptec Fleshes Out SAS Line

Vendor puts emphasis on breadth to spur more migration to serial attached SCSI

October 15, 2005

3 Min Read
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Adaptec hasn't cornered the market on serial-attached SCSI (SAS), but a multi-part product rollout covers a lot of ground, from adapters to data subsystems and educational forums.

On Monday, the vendor will introduce a SAS host bus adapter (HBA), SAS RAID controllers, a four-bay enclosure, data protection software, and two SAS subsystems. In parallel, Adaptec's putting five SAS bloggers on the case and is launching a SAS education center to help customers understand their options and to get better informed about interoperability and migration strategies, says Tim Connolly, vice president of the vendor's data protection solutions group.

That sort of education and outreach can't come too soon, according to Richard Nelson, director of computing for the Information Science Institute (ISI) at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He says he's drowning in acronyms among all the flavors of SCSI available, the various versions of IDE, and now a new flock of serial technologies.

"The biggest challenge for vendors is to de-mystify all this -- the storage industry has a credibility challenge, since there are solutions at every price point," Nelson says, adding that he'll make sure SAS has all the reliability and error correction of SCSI before undertaking any migration or upgrade.

Adaptec said its SAS 48300 HBA has eight 3-gigabit SAS or Serial ATA (SATA) ports that can be configured as internal or external connectors. It offers data protection at RAID 0 and 1, with RAID 10 available in November. Pricing starts at $360. Its RAID 4800SAS and 4805SAS controllers are eight-port units that come with either a PCI-X or PCIe host interface slot. They're equipped with Adaptec RAID Code (ARC) software for data protection and simplified maintenance. Pricing starts at $945. The 335SAS is a 3.5-inch 4-bay enclosure for both SAS and SATA drives. Two enclosures can be supported by a single Adaptec SAS or SATA II RAID card; pricing starts at $369.Adaptec claims its Advanced Data Protection Suite enables distribution of hot spare disk space across the array for better performance. A dual-drive failure protection with RAID 6 provides extra fault tolerance against data loss, and a striped mirror capability is supposed to safeguard more than two drives. The vendor will reveal pricing for the software later this year.

Two SAS subsystems are also part of Monday's mix. The SANbloc 5000f RAID subsystem can be used for bridging Fibre Channel and SAS for direct attached storage or SANs, or added to an FC SAN. The SANbloc S50 JBOD expands the platform with eight additional systems for as much as 54 terabytes of SATA capacity or 32.4 Tbytes of SAS. The SANbloc 5000f starts at $5,995; the S50 starts at $2,995.

Analysts praised Adaptec more for the breadth of its rollout than for any major technical breakthrough or distinctive capabilities. While a number of vendors have already introduced or announced support for SAS products -- LSI Logic and Hewlett-Packard to name two -- Brian Babineau, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group of Milford, Mass., says Adaptec's broad offerings give customers lots of options without forcing them to upgrade.

"Many customers prefer SCSI to SATA or Fibre Channel for many reasons. This is just an evolution to a higher performance threshold and a better cost structure," Babineau says. The beauty of the SAS standard is that customers get the option to do SCSI and/or SATA, and the more products that hit the market, the more that line will be blurred, he predicts.

Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief, Byte and SwitchOrganizations mentioned in this article:

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