Serial solution

Several new features of a recently released technology called Serial ATA will help ATA array vendors build products that are more useful in enterprise-class storage applications, according to several vendors and industry analysts.

When Serial ATA products begin shipping in about a year, they will support:

n Potential disk transfer rates of 1.5 gigabits/ sec, compared with ATA's current top rate of 100 megabits/sec.

n Native hot-swappability so users can remove drives from an array using the array's software, as is the case with existing products.

n New cabling connecting the drives that is thinner and longer than the current thick, ribbonlike cables, which often impede airflow inside a computer cabinet and limit manufacturers' design options.

Serial ATA is being developed by the Serial ATA Working Group. Among the group's members are APT Technologies Inc., Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Maxtor Corp., Quantum Corp. and Seagate Technology LLC.

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