HGST Intros 12Gbps SAS SSDs for Enterprise Storage Systems

By Pedro Hernandez

Western Digital subsidiary HGST is laying claim to the first solid-state drive (SSD) with a 12 Gbps serial-attached SCSI (SAS) interface while the storage industry currently pumps out 6 Gbps solutions. For HGST, the news is a return to making headlines for its technology and not the regulatory hurdles it encountered in an increasingly consolidated hard drive market

It took a bruising year for Western Digital to complete the $4 billion acquisition of HGST (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies). Ultimately, Western Digital sold HGST's 3.5-inch hard disk drive (HDD) business and IP to Toshiba to satisfy the Federal Trade Commission's qualms about leaving the desktop HDD market in the hands of so few players in the space.

Today, those challenges are in the rear view mirror as HGST continues to advance its SSD portfolio, a product slate it hopes will become a staple of tomorrow's high-performance enterprise storage arrays.

According to Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing for HGST, "We have successfully achieved interoperability between our 12Gb/s SAS drive and 12Gb/s SAS HBAs and expanders from both LSI and PMC-Sierra." Hitting this milestone is an important step in developing fast, scalable storage systems for enterprise data centers and cloud infrastructures, according to the company.

By using both interface ports on an SAS drive, the total available interface bandwidth of a 12 Gb per second SAS-enabled SSD is 4.8 GB per second. That's enough bandwidth, argues HGST, for low-latency storage systems that can help power next-generation clouds and responsive enterprise apps.

It's also a sentiment shared by LSI's Bill Wuertz, senior vice president and general manager of the company's RAID Storage Division.

"As the preferred enterprise interface of the future, 12Gb/s SAS will be essential to unleashing the full performance potential of SSD storage solutions to help datacenters and cloud environments contend with massive data growth and accelerate application performance," said Wuertz.

Wuertz adds that with today's announcement, HGST and LSI are playing a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for 12Gb per second SAS solutions by 2013 -- not to mention, priming the pump for market adoption. Likewise, Derek Dicker, the vice president of marketing for PMC's Enterprise Storage Division, reported that PMC-Sierra is working with HGST to ensure interoperability with its 12Gbps SAS controllers, RAID-on-Chip controllers and expanders for tiered, networked storage environments.

HGST's 12Gbps SAS SSD technology retains backward compatibility with 6 Gbps systems. The company will be demonstrating its SSDs on May 9th at the SCSI Trade Association Technology Showcase in Santa Clara, Calif.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on May 01, 2012