HGST's new SAS-12Gb/s SSDs, due for commercial launch in 2013, promise serious speed for enterprise users.
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Digital, has announced the latest must-have device for enterprise users with cash to burn: the world's first solid-state drive (SSD) with a SAS-12Gb/s interface.
A popular interface in enterprise storage system, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) provides Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) control over a modified version of the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) connector. Designed for large-scale storage systems, SAS is hardly rare - but a drive that supports SAS-12Gb/s is news indeed.
As the name suggests SAS-12Gb/s supports data transfer at rates of up to 12Gb/s, or around 4.8GB/s. Compared to traditional SAS and SATA implementations, which max out at 6Gb/s, that's a not-inconsiderable leap for users who need ultra-low latency storage.
Sadly, HGST and parent company Western Digital is remaining quiet on the specifications of the actual SSD itself. With most SSDs available on the market today peaking at around 500MB/s, it seems unlikely that the device the company is about to unleash upon the world will come close to saturating the new high-speed bus for everything except cache access.
Nevertheless, interface makers LSI and PMC have come forward in praise of HGST's creation - hardly surprising, given the company has been using both companies' host bus adapters (HBAs) for testing. 'We have been working closely with HGST on interoperability testing,
' claimed PMC's Derek Dicker of the announcement, 'and the high-performance benefits of our 12Gb/s SAS solutions, coupled with HGST’s 12Gb/s SAS drives, will enable a new generation of cutting-edge, scalable tiered storage for corporate and cloud datacentres.
'As the preferred enterprise interface of the future,
' added LSI's Bill Wuertz, '12Gb/s SAS will be essential to unleashing the full performance potential of SSD storage solutions to help datacentres and cloud environments contend with massive data growth and accelerate application performance.
HGST is due to demonstrate its SAS-12Gb/s drives at the SCSI Trade Association Technology Showcase in California next week. Industry adoption of SAS-12Gb/s is expected to pick up pace in 2013, but there is currently no clue on when the consumer equivalent SATA-12Gb/s will be ready - and affordable - for home use.