LSI, HP Unveil SAS Arrays For SMBs


LSI, an OEM supplier of storage arrays to vendors such as IBM, SGI and Sun Microsystems, on Tuesday unveiled a family of SAS-to-SAS external RAID arrays that can be direct-attached to one or multiple servers. HP this week also introduced two SAS appliances as part of its Modular Smart Array (MSA) small-business storage line.

SAS allows connection of up to 4,032 SCSI devices per port over longer distances, compared with the 15-device limitation of parallel SCSI. SAS and SATA drives also can be connected to the same host-bus adapters and drive bays to allow mixing and matching according to performance and capacity needs.

LSI's new Engenio 1333 and 1331 arrays, which will go to the channel via LSI's OEM vendor customers, come at a time when the industry is embracing SAS, said Rip Wilson, product marketing manager for the Milpitas, Calif.-based company, which makes storage controller ICs and storage systems.

"We expect to ship more SAS controller ICs than SCSI controller ICs this quarter for the first time ever," Wilson said.

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The adoption of SAS got a big boost in the April-to-May time period when Intel released its Bensley chipset, said Steve Gardner, director of product marketing at LSI. "That was the chipset that enabled the proliferation of SAS in servers," he said.

LSI's 1331 and 1333 arrays are 12-drive, 2U storage devices. The 1331 has a single SAS controller with redundant pathways to a single server, according to Wilson. The 1333, on the other hand, is a shared direct-attached storage (DAS) array, he said. It can be configured with up to three SAS controllers, each with two ports, allowing it to connect to up to three servers, each of which has redundant access to a partition on the array.

The 1333 comes at a time when Microsoft is withdrawing certification for its Microsoft Cluster Server for clusters using server-based RAID because of problems with the mirroring of RAID cache, Wilson said.

Going forward, Gardner said he expects LSI SAS arrays to be able to connect to up to 12 redundant hosts by mid-2007.

Pricing for the LSI arrays will be determined by the OEMs as they bring their products to the channel.

Meanwhile, HP's new MSA60 and MSA70 appliances offer two different ways to bring SAS to smaller businesses, said Charles Vallhonrat, manager of entry-level SAN product marketing at HP's StorageWorks Division. Both are 2U enclosures that support a mix of SAS and SATA hard drives and offer a variety of RAID configurations.

The MSA60 supports up to 12 high-capacity, 3.5-inch hard drives for a total capacity of up to 3.6 Tbytes using SAS drives or 9 Tbytes with SATA drives, according to Vallhonrat. Focused on higher performance, the MSA70 can be configured with up to 25 2.5-inch, small form-factor SAS drives with a total capacity of up to 3.6 Tbytes, or up to 25 SATA drives with a maximum of 1.5 Tbytes.

Both the MSA60 and MSA70 attach to a single server. They also can be used to add capacity to HP's new All-In-One, a sub-$5,000 array introduced in September.

The MSA60, available to the channel now, has a starting list price of $2,999 with no hard drives, Vallhonrat said. The MSA70 is expected to ship early next year with a list price not to exceed $3,250, he said.