SAS Storage Devices Slow To Market In 2004, Strong Sales Expected By 2007

SAS, which was published as an official standard last November, is aimed at bumping the performance of SCSI hard drives to 3 Gbps, compared with 2 Gbps for Fibre Channel drives, said Harry Mason, president of the STA and the director of industry marketing at LSI Logic.

While Fibre Channel hard-drive performance is starting to move toward 4 Gbps this year, the SAS road map calls for 6 Gbps in the near future, with wide links that will enable 24 Gbps going forward, STA officials said.

IDC said it expects SAS hard-drive production to hit 8.1 million drives annually by 2007, up from 6,000 drives last year. That should compare with 8.8 million parallel SCSI drives and 8.5 million Fibre Channel drives in 2007, the analyst firm said.

Every major hard-drive vendor has said they plan to roll out SAS drives. Initial production of SAS drives, along with OEM backplanes, external controllers and servers compatible with the SAS specification is expected by the end of 2004, with volume production expected to be under way in 2005, Mason said.

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Several companies collaborated on demonstrations at IDF to show how various combinations of SAS products interoperate with each other, while other companies had static displays at the show, Mason said.

In addition, about a dozen companies are signed up to join a Plug Fest in two weeks at the University of New Hampshire, to test their products against the new standard behind closed doors while connected together. The results of the test will be available only to participating vendors, and several additional vendors are scheduled to sign up in time for the event, Mason said.