Next-gen SCSI prototype shown

NEW YORK--Three tech allies demonstrated a new storage technology that they believe will keep a venerable hard drive standard safe from extinction. Hewlett-Packard, Seagate and Adaptec demonstrated prototype versions of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) at the CeBit America trade show here this week. The companies, combined with a host of other allies, are betting that the technology will stay a step ahead of a lower-end but increasingly powerful standard, Serial ATA (SATA).

SATA has its roots in ATA, the technology used to plug hard drives into desktop computers. SAS, on the other hand, is the sequel for SCSI drives that's used for jobs such as servers, for which every whit of performance matters. "Will SATA encroach? Yes," said Linus Wong, director of strategic marketing for Adaptec, which makes adapters that let computers control storage systems that are made of groups of hard drives. "People continue to push ATA to its limits...But at the end of the day, the requirement for SCSI is still there."

Adaptec is backing both technologies. SATA will be useful for accessing infrequently used data such as a bank's scanned image of a check, whereas SAS will be adopted for demanding server tasks such as databases with a heavy transaction rate, Wong said.

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