Next generation SCSI hits the market

Hard-disk manufacturer, Maxtor, has teamed up with storage vendor, Adaptec, to release a serial attached SCSI storage offering designed to fill the gap between parallel SCSI and high-end, fibre-channel storage.

"There's a big hole in the market at the moment between high-speed but complex fibre-channel technology and SCSI connections which just won't provide the speed needed for high-end financial database or media applications," country manager for Maxtor A/NZ, Edwin Tien, said.

While fibre channel provides faster speeds by using serial rather than parallel architecture for data transport, the SAS technology is readily applicable to traditional parallel SCSI environments. According to Tien, it does not require a great leap in implementation skills or training.

However. the vendors are looking to partner with integrators prepared to provide appropriate applications.

"We have got the hardware and the software to manager the storage, but we don't have the software to manage the data at this stage," Tien said. "That will depend on the specific application.

"What we are looking for is OEMs and integrators, who can see how serial attached storage [SAS] might fit into their product base."

Managing director of Melbourne-based multimedia systems builders Xenon, Dragan Dimitrovici, said SAS technology had a ready market in the film and television production sector. He claimed Serial ATA (SATA) storage would probably remain dominant in the home space but SAS would quickly take over from the serial SCSI architecture currently used in the corporate sector, and even challenge fibre-channel storage in the high-end.

"SAS technology is helping us pass a bottleneck we used to encounter with parallel SCSI storage, where we'd get a maximum throughput of about 300Mbps," Dimitrovici said. "With SAS we're getting through-put of around 600Mbps, 800Mbps and higher, and the platform is more stable."

Adaptec country manager, Demetri Christodoulou, said he also expected the hardware to generate some interest because it could be used in conjunction with SATA storage technology.

"The RAID and JBOD systems we have released are built on the Adaptec universal chassis system design which supports both SAS and SATA drives," he said. "It is possible to operate both systems simultaneously, providing a clear migration path as the storage requirements of companies expand."