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Say Farewell to FC and SATA Disk Drives

by Hu Yoshida on Jul 22, 2011

The products recently announced by EMC and IBM all feature Serial Attached SCSI and SAS for back-end disk connections, which Hitachi introduced with our AMS 2000 midrange storage system over a year ago and with Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) enterprise storage system last September.


When we introduced SAS, we found that some bids had been modified to specify FC disks. Now that everyone seems to have them in their newer products, we don’t see that anymore. Everyone is coming to realize the value of point-to-point SAS connectivity versus FC arbitrated loops for performance, and availability. FC disks will quickly disappear.

The same is going to happen with SATA now that 1 and 2 TB SAS disks are available at prices that are comparable to 1 and 2 TB SATA. SAS is dual ported versus SATA, which is single ported. We have seen tests where comparable capacity SAS drives are 1.6 times faster than SATA drives. The most important difference is that SAS is SCSI and uses the SCSI 520 byte sector size instead of the 512 byte SATA sector. The extra 8 bytes provide checksums that guard against data corruption, which is a problem with SATA.

The disk media business is all about volumes. If the volumes aren’t there, the prices will not be sustainable, and production will quickly cease.

Now is not the time to invest your future in storage systems that only support FC or SATA disks.  What do you think?

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Comments (4 )

Radek on 27 Jul 2011 at 10:41 am

Don’t you think that in the near future you will say farewell to magnetic storage as well? This summer new enterprise-class SSDs are available from Seagate, Intel, Hitachi and Toshiba. I can find in the Internet that Hitachi Ultrastar SSD400S is below $1000 mark, the same is Intel. The question is when those disks will be available for storages like AMS or VSP? It will be storage revolution!

Twitted by HDScorp on 03 Aug 2011 at 9:19 am

[...] This post was Twitted by HDScorp [...]

Lucian on 16 Aug 2011 at 12:41 am

Your comment is true. Still there is a BIG difference between the first generation of SAS introduced by HDS on AMS and the one used now in enterprise storage systems by IBM and EMC. Do not forget that AMS introduced SAS generation 1 inferior to FC in special in error correction and queuing while the new SAS generation 2 is superior almost in all category. The acceptance of SSD is growing while, naturally, the price is coming down. Almost for sure in a few years we will see spinning drives only in museum like we are watching now to old Floppy disk drives :) !

Hu Yoshida on 17 Aug 2011 at 6:17 am

True the AMS introduced SAS generation 1. However, I would argue that it is superior to FC-AL since it is point to point and provides better performance and fault isolation. No question about SAS generation 2. which we introduced with the VSP. As far as the demise of the spinning disk is concerned, remember the media business is all about volumes. The SLC SSDs that we use for enterprise storage is not the same as the MLC SSDs that are used for consumer products. The introduction of eMLC may replace SLC, but even then the volumes for enterprise SSD’s will not be enough to drive the price down to the range of spinning disks. I agree the future will be SSD but not in a few years and not until we have an SSD technology that can be used in both the enterprise and consumer markets where we can leverage the volumes of the consumer market. On the other hand if SSDs take over the consumer market as well as the embedded storage market, there may not be enough volumes for spinning disk to continue the price erosion that we have experienced over the last 50 years,and the price gap may narrow very quickly. There is also a need to increase the internal bandwidth of the rest of the storage system to support the aggregate bandwidth of an SSD system.

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