Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) has achieved 3Gb/sec data transfer using the Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) protocol. The demo is expected to accelerate Hitachi GST's schedule for hardware development with its partners.

HItachi GST demonstrated an SAS link sequence which set up a 3Gb/sec connection between two hard disk controllers.

Server and storage systems that integrate SAS-based components are expected to deliver a high level of system performance for I/O-dependent applications such as online transaction processing, data base, data warehousing and storage virtualization. SAS-based hard disk drives are expected to feature in both DAS, NAS and SAN environments. Hopefully, they will mean simpler and cheaper storage systems.

Fumio Kugiya, general manager, server business Unit, Hitachi GST, said, "The SAS 1.0 specification has been used by a few companies to demonstrate 1.5Gb/sec transfer rates, but 3Gb/sec has proved to be a formidable challenge."

Not quite so formidable for Fujitsu. Its Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc. (FCPA) subsidiary shipped its first small-form-factor, 73.5GB capacity 3Gb/sec SAS disk drives to HP. But there's no dependable arrangement for HP to actually ship these SAS drives.

Joel Hagburg, vice-president of marketing for FCPA said that the drives were only prototypes, and HP will is not testing them as part of a purchase qualification cycle. Paul Perez, vice president of storage, networks and infrastructure, Industry Standard Servers, HP, was a little more positive; "HP views small form factor SAS hard disk drives as the building block for various enterprise data centre and subsystem applications. By working closely with Fujitsu to receive the first 3Gb/sec small form factor SAS interface, we ensure that our industry-standard HP ProLiant server and storage customers will be able receive solutions that are tested and ready to handle the rigors of 24/7 data storage and retrieval."

This is evidence of two separate storage trends here: a shrinking form factor for hard drives of enterprise storage drives, and a shift from parallel to serial interface technologies, SAS and Serial ATA (SATA) with SATA coming into ready availability in 2004 and SAS in 2005.