Bundles Intended To Ease Integration Of SAS Drives

However, for many system builders, it is still too early to consider adding SAS drives. Dave Nielsen, owner of Albuquerque, N.M.-based I-40 Computers, said he prefers to use traditional parallel-attached SCSI and new serial-attached ATA hard drives in his customers' servers until SAS drives have had a chance to prove themselves.

Many system builders are choosing to keep using SATA drives until SAS drives prove themselves.

Nielsen said his customers are receptive to the SATA hard drives because of their lower cost and because Intel's new server cases make it easy to add hot-swap RAID using SATA drives. A 40-Gbyte SATA hard drive costs about $70, compared with a $200 40-Gbyte SCSI hard drive, he said.

"With RAID 5, I can do a minimum of three drives with a fourth as a spare," Nielsen said. "It costs $280 for SATA compared to $800 for SCSI. And only $70 for a spare. And it's a hot-swap drive—just pop it in, and you're done."

Even though many system builders still choose SATA drives, the industry is already gearing up for the arrival of SAS hard drives.

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Bell Microproducts, San Jose, Calif., is integrating a connectivity solution for both SAS and SATA hard drives that includes SAS drives from Fujitsu Computer Products of America, San Jose; a host bus adapter from LSI Logic, Milpitas, Calif.; and an eight-bay hard-drive canister from Supermicro Computer, San Jose.

"We've learned that to help win market share with new technologies, we needed to work with companies that can help us develop the market," said Lorne Wilson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Fujitsu. "We want to develop a solution together and introduce it into the channel early in the product life cycle so VARs can compete when other vendors come in."

LSI Logic has sold a few thousand SAS host bus adapters over the past few months, said Charlie Kraus, director of LSI's HBA unit. "The big OEMs are getting ready but through the year will be ramping up," he said. Six new bundles are expected to ship either this month or next. They will include PCI Express and PCI-X versions of an eight-port canister for internal mounting in a server, versions for use in external storage, and versions with four internal and four external ports.