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Setting up and configuring the SAS6160 was not all rainbows and lollipops. Since SAS is a connection-oriented, point-to-point technology, its default state is is to allow any attached initiator (server or client device) to access any target (storage device). A fair amount of administration will be necessary before unleashing even the simplest segregated deployment. So before getting started, we recommend hammering out user rights and privileges in advance and documenting it all on paper as you would with any server deployment.
Once you're ready to configure the switch, you'll need to connect a Java-enabled PC to its front-panel Ethernet interface and browse to the SAS6160's default IP address. The unit's embedded management interface -- SAS Domain Manager -- will download and attempt to launch (after it verifies that Java is present and up to date). The first step in creating SAS zones is to specify the zone groups, which will include any hosts and storage devices that will be sharing the same access privileges. For example, Zone group 8 (see diagram) might represent an accounting department that should have access only to its own server and storage system (JBOD A). Similarly, Zone group 9 has access only to its server and storage (JBOD B).
Notice in the diagram that JBODs A and B and the SAS6160 itself are part of a larger shaded area marked ZPSDS. This "Zoned Portion of a Service Delivery System" is created by all linked switch/expander devices that are compliant with SAS 2.x spec and have the zoning function enabled. All zoning-enabled switch/expanders in this zone maintain identical permission tables, which establishes access control throughout the zone. Notice also that JBOD C, which is not zoning-enabled, is not in the ZPSDS.
The CRN Test Center sees great potential in the SAS6160, we recommend this product with confidence, and we expect to see many others like it in the future. Reseller opportunities abound for this major technological advance, not the least of which are connection flexibility, scalability, increases in storage efficiency through elimination of storage silos, and a vastly simplified interconnect methodology versus iSCSI. However, there will be a learning curve as technicians tackle the subtleties of SAS zoning and provisioning.
The SAS6160 lists for $2495. It began shipping on Oct. 12 and is available through CDW, NewEgg and high-tech distributors. A 1U rack mounting kit holds two SAS6160s and lists for $450.
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