SATA For Servers: Testing Backplanes


Serial ATA has grown up. It's not just the number of available products with and for SATA that's impressive, but their functional scope as well. Promise and HighPoint offer a wide range of flexible options, Adaptec and LSI appeal to professional users and Raidcore reaches for the stars with solutions for up to 32 drives.

The vast majority of applications with SATA components are based on systems with two to four drives and, if necessary, a clear RAID array as well. For several years, decision-makers have had the option of falling back on low-priced products with an UltraATA interface rather than springing for expensive SCSI hardware. However, the former was not geared for intensive long-term operation and was unpopular because of the limited availability of important components, such as hot-swap systems or backplanes.

Serial ATA has changed everything - not only are the cables easier to manipulate, but the drive ports allow backplanes to be built at a negligible cost.

We took a look at the backplane solutions available today, to get an impression of the quality of the current SATA component generation. We also looked at host adapters.

The staggered contacts make the Serial ATA interface well suited for hot plugging in theory, but in practice this was not the case. An appropriate removable bracket or a backplane makes the whole thing waterproof.