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Dell launches 6-gig SAS enclosures

Dell is taking a bottom-up approach to 6 Gbps SAS, beginning with its low-end PowerVault MDS1200 and MD1220 direct attached storage (DAS) systems.

Dell launched the two 6-gig SAS systems today along with three 6-gig SAS controllers for storage and Dell servers.

The new generation of SAS systems have double the bandwidth of the 3 Gbps SAS that has been on the market since SAS began replacing parallel SCSI in 2005.

Last year, Hewlett-Packard rolled out its StorageWorks D2000 external arrays with 6 Gbps SAS.

Dell senior storage product manager Howard Shoobe wouldn’t say when he expects 6 Gbps SAS support for Dell’s EqualLogic iSCSI SAN or the Clariion storage arrays it co-markets with EMC, but many people in the industry believe 6-gig SAS will threaten Fibre Channel as the dominant high-end disk interface.

“With 6-gig, we see SAS becoming more compelling,” Shoobe said. “This is an important step and the foundation for the next generation of storage products.”

The MD1200 is a 2u box that holds 12 3.5-inch drives or a combination of 3.-5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. It expands to 96 drives with additional enclosures. Dell positions the MD1200 for applications such as disk backup, email, and streaming media.

The MD1220 is also a 2u system but holds 24 2.5-inch SAS drives and expands to 192 drives with eight additional enclosures. Dell sees the MD1220 being used for more I/O-intensive applications such as large databases and Web serving.

Both systems also support SAS interface SSDs from Pliant Technology. The PowerVault MD1220 costs $5,637 and the MD1200 is $5,145.

The MDS1200 and 1220 use the new PERC H800 6-gig SAS controller, which supports redundant pathing and I/O load balancing. With redundant pathing, both cables from the controller connect to the DAS system, so if one cable gets disconnected the system will continue to run. Dell is also bringing out PERC H700 and H200 controllers for 11G PowerEdge servers.

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