Focus on SAS/SATA

Posted on January 01, 2006


The following is a sampling of recent Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA (SATA) product announcements:

LSI Logic continued its surge into the SAS space this month with production shipments of two SAS RAID adapters-the 8408E (internal) and 8480E (external)-in its MegaRAID product line. Common features of the two adapters include support for SAS or 3Gbps Serial ATA (SATA) II drives, eight ports, PCI Express host interface, support for RAID 6 (double parity), Intel IOP333 I/O processor, 256MB of cache, and support for virtually all RAID levels and operating systems. The MegaRAID 8408E internal adapter supports up to eight direct-connect drives, or up to 32 drives using expanders, while the 8480E supports up to 255 SAS or SATA drives using expanders. LSI also recently began shipments of the 8-port MegaRAID SATA 300-8XLP RAID adapters for 3Gbps SATA II drives. The adapters also support other SATA II features such as native command queuing (NCQ).

Rounding out LSI’s SAS host bus adapter (HBA) introductions are the 4-port SAS3041X-R and 8-port 3442X, 3080X and 3800X adapters. These HBAs support the company’s hardware-based “Integrated RAID” (levels 0, 1, and 1E, or “enhanced mirroring”). Common features include an aggregate I/O port bandwidth of 2.4GBps, SAS and SATA support, LSI’s Fusion-MPT architecture, and support for the PCI-X host bus.

Xyratex’s just-released model 5401 disk array is a 4Gbps Fibre Channel-to-SAS/SATA RAID subsystem. Features include dual-active RAID controllers with MPIO-based Path Manager for multi-path protection, four 4Gbps Fibre Channel host ports, up to 2GB of cache memory with separate cache coherency channels, scalability from 36GB to 30TB, and support for up to 512 LUNs (as well as individual LUNs greater than 2TB). A single-controller version is also available.

Adaptec and Maxtor last month teamed up to simplify deployment of SAS systems for systems integrators and resellers via a SAS evaluation kit that includes Maxtor’s Atlas SAS disk drives and Adaptec’s 4800SAS and 4805SAS RAID controllers and model 335SAS storage enclosure. Integrators/resellers that have already tested the configurations include Colfax International, Rackable Systems, and ZT Group. and

Rasilient’s new 6000 series of subsystems are available with support for iSCSI and Fibre Channel SANs, NAS, and 3Gbps SAS/SATA controllers and disk drives. With an expansion controller and chassis, capacity can be extended to 120 drives, or 60TB in the case of 500GB SATA drives. The 3U, 15-bay enclosures have active-active fail-over, up to 2GB of cache per controller, RAID 0/1/5/10 with support for up to 256 LUNs, and two iSCSI, two Fibre Channel, and one 4x SAS ports per controller.

iQstor’s iQ2280 is a 3U Fibre Channel-to-SATA II subsystem with 7.5TB of capacity using 500GB SATA drives. Features include a 3Gbps transfer rate, support for NCQ, SAS drive support, and four 4Gbps Fibre Channel host ports for an aggregate throughput of 1.6GBps.

Designed for OEMs, SiliconStor’s SS1300 is an active-active multiplexer device based on the company’s AAMUX technology. The SS1300 allows OEMs to connect SATA drives to SAS subsystems and provides features such as dual-porting, signal conditioning, and support for SATA II features such as native command queuing (NCQ).


Promise Technology has added support for RAID 6 (double parity RAID) to its line of SuperTrak RAID controllers. RAID 6 performs two different parity computations, providing an extra layer of protection and the ability for an array to tolerate two simultaneous drive failures or errors without downtime or data loss. Promise’s SuperTrak line of 8-port SATA controllers includes hardware acceleration based on Intel IOP331 processors and support for 3Gbps SATA. They are available with for PCI-X or PCI-Express host buses. RAID-6 drivers and upgrade kits for SuperTrak EX8300 and EX8350 controllers are available for free:

Winchester Systems has also added support for hardware-based RAID 6 to its SATA-II-based Flash-Disk disk arrays, which also support 4Gbps Fibre Channel host connections.

SATA for tape

This month, Sony Electronics began shipping AIT-1 Turbo and AIT-2 Turbo tape drives with SATA interfaces, which are expected to be used primarily in disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) backup/recovery configurations.

AIT-1 tape drives have a native 40GB capacity (104GB assuming 2.6:1 compression) and a 6MBps sustained native transfer rate. AIT-2 drives pack 80GB per cartridge (208GB with compression) and have a native transfer rate of 12MBps. AIT-2 drives/media also offer write-once, read-many (WORM) functionality.

With SATA interfaces, AIT-1 and AIT-2 Turbo drives are expected to be priced at $650 and $1,070, respectively.

Originally published on .

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