One of the vendors currently offering FATA (Hewlett-Packard) claims that price and performance is comparable for both their SATA and FATA disk offerings. It may first be useful to know that FATA is an ATA drive (also called IDE) with a Fibre interface attachment.
The questions then becomes, why switch if they are equivalent? One of the benefits is the ability to stick to only one protocol (i.e.: Fibre in this case) and still take advantage of lower-cost ATA technology. Another advantage is the ability to have two types of disk technology without having to buy two disk arrays.
Other vendors, such as EMC Corp., also offer the ability to intermix Fibre Channel and ATA disk technology within the same array, but chose to simply call it lower-cost. Slower-spinning disk and more will follow shortly from IBM and Hitachi Data Systems. These are other approaches that offer the ability to make use of both technologies without having to deploy multiple storage solutions.
What remains to be seen is how widely (and quickly) supported this new technological twist will be and how it will position with iSCSI which has been gaining momentum.
This was first published in August 2004