Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is the newest flavour of SCSI, the ubiquitous, reliable and user-friendly technology found in most IT infrastructures today. Andrew Batty, sales and marketing director at Fujitsu Europe, outlines below why end users should consider SAS for their organisations.

1. Peace of mind: parallel SCSI is a proven technology but it has reached the end of the line; Ultra 320 SCSI is out of steam and there will be no Ultra 640 to replace it. SAS is an industry standard, and with its combination of high performance, ease-of-use, reliability and low cost, it is the ideal next step

2. Highest performance: with more than four times the performance of SATA and Parallel SCSI SAS rivals the performance of Fibre Channel while offering all the traditional SCSI performance features such as Deep Command Queuing and Asynchronous reporting. In addition SAS performance scales with each drive that is added to the RAID set, making it a sound investment

3. Lowest cost: the cost of an infrastructure based on SAS is similar to that of Parallel SCSI and SATA; which means ROI is higher

4. Best reliability: SAS is designed for enterprise-class drives and thus offers extremely high reliability in spite of its lowest cost of ownership. Complete fault tolerance with dual porting and full SCSI failure prediction features add to this reliability

5. Ultimate flexibility and scalability: SAS infrastructure accommodates both SAS and SATA devices, enabling users to mix and match SAS (for performance and reliability) and SATA drives (non mission critical applications) and to change the disks ratio according to the organisations needs over time

6. Fully compatible: SAS drives are fully compatible with existing SCSI software and Operating Systems thus making the deployment quick and painless

7. Available now: hard disk drives, RAID controllers, and other SAS components and subsystems are already available; this means that it is really not a question of if but a matter of when to deploy SAS. However, organisations do not have to start with a heavy investment in SAS; the new technology can be gradually brought into the network as the demand for performance and reliability increases

8. Small Form Factor enterprise drives: 2.5 inch drives offer many advantages over their 3.5 inch rivals including higher IOPS per unit volume, higher reliability, and lower power consumption, enabling users to achieve the lowest cost of ownership per transaction

9. Option to add more disks into each RAID set: the more spindles in each RAID set the higher the transaction rate. While parallel SCSI and Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop become a bottleneck with as few as four drives, SASs scalability enables users to add tens of drives into a RAID set. Furthermore up to eight Small Form Factor (SFF) enterprise drives can fit in the space of just two standard 5.25 inch server bays or up to ten in a 1U high enclosure versus four 3.5 inch drives

10. Safe investment: Choosing a SAS-ready environment offers customers the option to deploy a technology that can grow with their storage requirements, even allowing them to easily switch from SATA to SAS drives without a costly infrastructure upgrade.

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