SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) Is the Best Protocol for the SMB Market


We are always on the lookout for the best deal for our clients – small and mid-sized businesses in Atlanta. Our experience in this market for the last decade gives us a lot of insight into the major concerns, challenges and aspirations shared throughout this business class regarding its IT solutions.

We have identified SAS as the best-in-class solution for the SMB market, because of its price, convenience, and speed.

What is SAS?

IBM SANs (Storage Area Networks) use SAS, or Serial-Attached SCSI to communicate storage data to the server. Think of SAS as the highway between hard disk and server. If the highway is blocked up and slow, then the total retrieval time will be slow, period.

Any bottleneck in the data stream, whether it be on the SAN side, the server side, or anywhere in between (the protocol) will slow the data and fail to fully utilize the solution. Many small and mid-sized businesses are frustrated when they buy fast hard disks and suffer from clunky data flows. Here is a breakdown of the potential solutions on the market today.

Reviewing Options: Fibre Channel (FC), iSCSI (Scuzzy), and SAS

First off, we eliminate Fibre Channel, due to its initial price and ongoing upkeep for IT staff. FC is too expensive for our clients.

This leaves Scuzzy and SAS to “duke it out” for the SMB title. SAS can be slightly more expensive, upfront; however, the difference in raw power more than makes up for the difference.

iSCSI performs optimally at a rate of 1 GB/s. This rate becomes more and more of a problem as companies use more and more data. Many systems currently using iSCSI suffer from the data bottleneck, despite high speed ratings on their hard disks.

SAS performs at 6 GB/s, and can function across 4 wide ports, which provides an optimized performance of 24 Gb/s. Overall, this speed outperforms most Fibre Channel infrastructures, and maintenance is easier than either of the alternatives. Meaning – you need no training whatsoever to operate an SAS SAN, and the technology does not break down.

There is one reason why you would be unable to buy SAS.

Final Note: Dispersed Networks

SAS protocol limits the distance between devices to 10 meters. This limitation either does not have any bearing or can be managed easily for the vast majority of small and mid-sized businesses. However, this is a constraint when compared to iSCSI.

Note: iSCSI speeds degrade when they are extended across longer distances.

We do not blindly recommend SAS to our clients. Every case is unique, but we typically suggest SAS and IBM.