Adaptec to add Serial ATA, iSCSI support

Adaptec has announced a series of new interconnect products based on Serial ATA technology. The company says Serial SCSI and iSCSI support is soon to follow.

It makes sense that a company specializing in interconnects would be one of the first in line to support a hard drive technology poised to proliferate the storage industry, but Adaptec Inc.'s move into Serial ATA products is only part of the picture. One analyst said Adaptec's true vision of the future lies in the land of iSCSI.

Adaptec, which is based in Milpitas, Calif., announced a Serial ATA (SATA) product family Monday. The line includes both motherboard products and a range of add-in RAID cards that the company has designed for desktop computers, workstations, entry-level and midrange servers and external storage appliances.

The pitch behind Adaptec's SATA push is the idea of RAID technology for a lower price tag. The low, per-megabyte cost of SATA drives makes them attractive for midmarket servers and workstations, as well as disk-based backup applications, according to Adaptec.

Serial-attached SCSI and Serial ATA technologies contain serial point-to-point interconnections, increased address-ability and the ability to scale to small form factors. Serial ATA drives use a phone jack-style connection, as opposed to the ribbon connector used by current ATA technology, thereby saving space. Serial ATA drives offer a throughput in the 150-180 Mbps range.

Adaptec's ATA product family enables the use of longer, thinner cables and smaller connectors than parallel technology; as a result, it improves chassis airflow and cooling, simplifies cable routing and allows system builders to design smaller form factors, the company said.

"In the future, we'll be rolling out Serial-attached SCSI and introducing an iSCSI [host bus adapter] that lets you take the DuraStor appliances and spread them across your environment," said Carvilla Dossett, RAID product marketing manager for Adaptec's storage solutions group.

Dossett said Adaptec is supporting both Serial-attached SCSI and Serial ATA interconnects but has been waiting for hard drive makers to produce a new generation of drives. However, she said, Adaptec expects to see healthy adoption of the technology as products roll out this year.

In a research note this week, Kevin Fogarty, a senior analyst with Illuminata Inc., Nashua, N.H., called Adaptec an "iSCSI bellwether."

"Adaptec and other storage-component manufacturers are suffering from a contradiction: demand for storage, especially networked storage, is going up, while spending on it is going down," Fogarty wrote. "So Adaptec and its closest competitors are pushing into new territory, SAN on the cheap."

Fogarty said the iSCSI specification and serial interconnects being developed give many storage vendors an opportunity to grow in ways that were never open to them before, if they can convince users to upgrade along with them.

The Adaptec Serial ATA RAID 1210SA is a 2-port card that offers RAID and up to 1.5 Gbps performance. It also features Adaptec's HostRAID mirroring and striping technology.

Adaptec also introduced the SATA Connect, a 2-port controller with transfer speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps for desktop computers.

Let us know what you think about the story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Groups' push for hard drive compatibility questioned

Killer serial: Is ATA ready for the enterprise?

iSCSI spec ready to go, products to follow

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