Is SATA Going the Way of the Dodo Bird?

By Henry Newman

Everyone is talking about 12 Gbit SAS, which should appear later this year after having been talked about for quite a long time.

Over the last ten or so years, we had seen SATA taking over the second tier of the enterprise. This vastly increased the size and scope of the SATA market space.

But about a year ago, the major drive manufacturers began building these enterprise SATA drives with SAS and SATA interfaces. By using SAS, you get a richer command interface and better error recovery on the drive, as well as a number of other features not available in the SATA command set. Performance is also better for most vendors’ drives using the SAS interface.

Now SATA is still used for the home and business PC market, but that market is not growing and is actually shrinking. So that got me wondering what the interfaces will be for future disk drives.

The SATA organization just released their roadmap for increased performance, and it falls far behind SAS, only supporting 8 Gbit interface rather than 12 Gbit. So what is going to happen?

There are still some SATA-only vendors out there, a prominent example being Intel with their SATA line of SSDs. What will WD, Toshiba and Seagate do about SAS vs. SATA?

The latest Intel processors support SAS on the socket for the server processors, but after I just did a quick check of some higher-end motherboards, I saw none that support SAS on the motherboard.

I suspect that sometime this year we will find out what the disk drive makers decide. I for one would be happy to pay a few dollars more to get a more reliable, faster drive with a SAS interface.

This article was originally published on May 15, 2013