Adaptec bets on SAS future

Adaptec bets on SAS future

Adaptec is betting its future on the Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) market. But despite its vote of confidence, an analyst claims it will be an uphill battle to win over customers.

Last October, the vendor decided to sell off its NAS division and jettisoned its Snap Server products. The decision was in line with plans to capture a leadership position in the emerging Serial ATA and SAS markets.

Adaptec has undertaken a number of seminars across the country promoting the SAS technology to partners and resellers. Its most recent events were held in Sydney and Melbourne last week.

Country manager, Demetri Christodoulou, said SAS was the logical replacement to existing parallel UltraSCSI 320 devices. The main advantage of the technology was its ability to connect SAS or SATA together. Businesses currently using SATA-based storage would be able to migrate to SAS as their storage needs grew.

"People are happy with SCSI but it will die out and be replaced with SAS or SATA," he said.

Christodoulou also claimed users were in the transition period to moving to SAS.

Another selling point to SAS was that it offered an unlimited number of expansions, Christodoulou said.

It maintains drive addressability for up to 16,256 devices per port and serial connections. SATA, on the other hand, has fixed port drives. An eight-port card, for example, would only support eight drives.

Additionally, where UltraSCSI 320 was noisy and had cabling issues, SAS is cleaner and quicker, Christodoulou said. It currently offered speeds of 3Gbps, with 6Gbps to come next year. A roadmap for 12Gbps was underway.

However, storage researcher at IDC, Graham Penn, said the sell was a hard one for SAS vendors such as Adaptec, HP, Dell or Network Appliance. He said only 1-2 per cent of the market had heard about SAS.

"Users don't know and don't care," Penn said. "It is a nice thing to have, but it is not going to make a lot of difference."

However, he agreed SAS offered ease of build and a lower price point compared to Fibre Channel-based solutions.

Christodoulou said the expandability, capacity and the lower cost of the controllers would snatch marketshare away for direct attached devices. But he didn't think SAS would replace Fibre Channel.

"There will be a place for Fibre Channel and a place for SAS," he said.

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