STA Announces SAS Advanced Connectivity Road Map

Extends SAS into new application domains

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The SCSI Trade Association (STA) is introducing the new Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Advanced Connectivity Roadmap that previews the connectivity advances to support future SAS growth in the enterprise. The new SAS connectivity benefits will apply to mid-range and large data centers and will improve all aspects of connectivity and ease of operation.

As an important part of the announcement, STA is promoting a converged Mini-SAS high-density (HD) standard connector to create a vibrant and consistent infrastructure to expand SAS usability and scalability. The STA objectives include a consistent connectivity management scheme in addition to the active copper and optical cable extensions supported by the new Mini-SAS HD connector.

Harry Mason, president of STA and director of industry marketing at LSI, noted that “larger SAS deployments may support upwards of a thousand drives, require multiple levels of cascaded SAS expanders, and often utilize centralized SAS switching elements. This level of SAS scaling demands more from SAS as a system-level interconnect. STA is advancing and standardizing SAS connectivity architecture to position SAS to meet the scalability needs of the targeted markets.”

To meet future requirements, STA’s objective is to drive market consistency by simplifying cable and connector options and by providing connectivity management standards designated as SAS Connectivity Management. High-density connectivity with support for active copper connections up to 20m and optical connections up to 100m, will vastly improve SAS flexibility and usability. The new connectivity standards are also extensible to the coming 12Gb/s SAS generation.

To achieve these objectives, STA will drive connectivity convergence centered on the new Mini-SAS HD connector. This versatile connector contains electrically improved signaling at 6Gb/s data rates and will support data scaling to 12Gb/s. The Mini-SAS HD connector doubles the port density of the currently available Mini-SAS connector, comes in a variety of port sizes, and offers internal and external connector options. In addition, it supports a standard method of powering the connector for either active copper or optical links.

SAS Connectivity Management is an integral part of the advances being made as it supports connection discovery and cable management. It detects passive and active copper and optical connections and eliminates the need for mechanical keys. The goals of SAS Connectivity Management include improved serviceability and reliability, as well as lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

SAS is rapidly evolving to meet the performance, scalability and usability needs of tomorrow’s storage environments. SAS will grow and thrive, in part, because of the Advanced Connectivity roadmap, which offers a solid connectivity scheme based on the versatile Mini-SAS HD connector in addition to SAS Connectivity Management support.

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