By Dave Simpson
In a further sign that the new Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface is gaining momentum, at least at the OEM level, LSI's Engenio division this week began shipments of SAS-SAS (host and drive connections) external RAID arrays to its OEMs. The company also introduced easier-to-use management software because the SAS arrays are designed primarily for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
The model 1331 has one host port per controller, and the 1333 has three host connections per controller, enabling it to be used in clustered configurations (two- or three-node) with SAS-based shared storage.
The systems are based on a 2U, 12-drive enclosure. The 1333 has six 3Gbps SAS interfaces for host connectivity and two SAS interfaces for capacity expansion.
OEMs and integrators can configure the RAID arrays in two-drive configurations with 146GB of capacity and up to 48-drive configurations with 14TB of capacity using 300GB SAS drives. Each array is available in single- or dual-controller versions.
Although SAS systems typically support both SAS and Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives, LSI's arrays are currently qualified only with SAS drives. Support for SATA will come later this year.
Using the same core code base as LSI's SANtricity Storage Manager software, the new Simplicity Storage Manager software is an easier-to-use version. The company claims that with the software users can configure the storage systems in fewer than 10 clicks.
Standard features of the Simplicity software include automated I/O path fail-over, online capacity scaling, and RAID group expansion. Optional features include storage partitioning, snapshots, and volume copies.
LSI will sell the SAS-SAS hardware and management software primarily through its OEMs, which include vendors such as IBM, SGI, and Sun.
Also this week, Hewlett-Packard introduced SAS-based arrays (see "HP DAS arrays support SAS, SATA"), and Dell, in conjunction with Microsoft, launched "hybrid" subsystems that support SAS disk drives (see "Dell, Microsoft launch 'unified storage' array").
In another sign that SAS is gaining momentum, LSI officials report that they will ship more SAS controller ICs than parallel SCSI controller ICs in this quarter.
Also, the January print edition of InfoStor will include a Special Report focused on SAS.
(InfoStor Online Article -- Dec 8, 2006)