Hitachi Data Systems will mix Fibre Channel and Serial ATA disk drives in its midrange arrays - a move that puts a different twist on the emerging trend to support different types of drives in a single enclosure.

Over the past 12 months, vendors such as EMC have said they plan to offer disk arrays that can hold both Serial ATA and Serial SCSI drives. But Hitachi is the first to put disks that use completely different data-transfer protocols in the same cabinet.

John Webster, an analyst at Data Mobility Group, said the ability to combine Fibre Channel and Serial ATA technology in Hitachi's Thunder 9500V arrays could appeal to users who are looking to install tiered storage infrastructures in order to help reduce their data management costs.

"Users are coming to the realisation that it's a good thing to optimize your storage environment for applications that on one hand require very fast access, or on the other hand may really want higher capacity and lower cost and can live without the super-high performance," Webster said.

Starting 22 June, the Thunder 9500V line will be able to support up to 107TB of mixed storage capacity after users install a microcode upgrade. Scott Genereux, Hitachi's vice president of global marketing said the company's storage management software will support both Serial ATA and Fibre Channel drives from a single screen.