Optimize Data Storage Environments by Knowing When to Use SAS vs FC

Jul 02, 2014

Man standing while working on a server rack/storage environment--FC and SAS drives

When you think about your computer system, the chances are good that you aren’t thinking in terms of storage technologies like 12Gb/s SAS or 16Gb/s Fiber Channel (FC). You’re probably thinking about your operating system or your software solution. It has become a trend to rely on cloud-based data solutions, which leads to a lack of attention given to the system’s hardware. Nonetheless, understanding your storage solutions is vital if you want to keep your hardware and software running at their peak potential. Both of these new storage protocols will allow a much better match to solid-state drives and together can bring amazing performance for IO intensive solutions such as Big Data, data analysis, and high transactional solutions.

Making the Choice of SAS vs FC for your Storage Environment

SAS storage is nothing new, and a SAS hard drive has long been understood as a reliable, efficient option. What’s changed is the bandwidth: 12 GB/s SAS drives can improve performance and create new performance capabilities for your solution. 12Gb/s SAS is the third generation of the SAS protocol doubling its speed from the previous generation’s 6GB/s and carries over the ability to support SATA drives as well.

For many years, fiber channel (FC) has been the go-to interconnect technology, because it has excellent speed, performance, and extensive expandability and connectivity using Fiber Channel switches. With a 12 GB/s SAS, you get performance somewhere between 8GB/SFC and 16GB/s FC, but for a far less prohibitive cost than 16GB/s FC. In other words, 12GB/s SAS doesn’t knock 16GB/s FC out of the running, but it does provide companies with a cost-effective alternative especially for direct-attached solutions. Based on your solution’s needs, 16GB/s FC storage may be the best solution to maximize productivity, but 12GB/S SAS could be a viable alternative where a little less performance for a significant cost reduction could make it easier to implement. A common trend in storage environments is using tiered storage using SSD for high performance and  SAS drives for mid-tier performance, and finally, large capacity SATA  drives for bulk storage. Both 16GB/s FC and 12GB/s SAS will allow seamless integration of SSD solid-state storage, rotational SAS drives, as well as SATA drives together to create an efficient, tiered storage environment.

It’s easy to get bogged down in technical details, like whether it’s better to have 12GB/s SAS or stick with Fiber Channel and go with 16GB/s FC. Rather than just trying to muddle through, it’s smart to join forces with a partner that can help you find the best hardware for your solution and integrate it directly into your system. If you are looking for a partner to keep your business ahead of the crowd, no matter what your hardware requirements may be, contact UNICOM Engineering at 800-977-1010 or sales@unicomengineering.com. To learn more, visit UNICOM Engineering.

Category: Hardware Appliance