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Storage duo aims to speed up disk drives

LSI Logic and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies are joining forces to work on creating better serial-attached SCSI connections, which should rev up data transfer speeds for disk drives.

Storage gear maker LSI Logic and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies will join forces to work on development of serial-attached SCSI, which could speed up the delivery of devices using the next-generation high-speed connection technology.

The companies plan to share designs, test results and debugging information, as well as participate in other joint activities.

Milpitas, Calif.-based LSI Logic is expected to demonstrate serial-attached SCSI, or SAS, products later this year, with availability in 2004, the company announced.

"Serial-attached SCSI will allow Hitachi to extend its server hard-disk-drive product line...for data center and other enterprise applications," said Fumio Kugiya, general manager of the server business unit at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST).

HGST formed at the end of 2002 and is 70 percent owned by Hitachi and 30 percent owned by IBM.

The SAS physical layer is compatible with serial ATA (SATA), a rival connection method. This should give people the choice of using either SAS or SATA drives within the same box. SAS will also allow enterprise customers to continue to use SCSI while gaining a faster 3gbps data transfer rate, according to the announcement.

For years, there have been two competing standards for plugging disk drives into computers: the ATA technique used in PCs and the faster, but more expensive, SCSI method used in servers.

Serial connections such as SATA and SAS are seen as a way to speed up data transfer between different components currently joined by parallel wires called a "bus." Speeding up bus transfer speeds typically involves making it wider--going from 32 to 64 wires, for example--but doing so makes it harder to ensure signals are synchronized across the wires.

The Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Working Group includes several top hard drive makers--Seagate, Maxtor and IBM--along with chipmaker LSI Logic and Compaq (now HP). Endorsing the move was Western Digital, another hard disk maker, along with Adaptec, Fujitsu, Hitachi, QLogic and Broadcom subsidiary ServerWorks.'s Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.