Serial ATA is a disk-interface technology developed by a group of the industry's leading vendors to replace parallel ATA. The group known as the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) owns the development of the Serial ATA technology and maintenance of its specifications.
Hard disk drives, cables, enclosures, and controller vendors have been supplying Serial ATA products to the industry since 2002. It is expected that additional product areas, such as optical disk drives (e.g. DVDROM, CDRW) will begin ramping with Serial ATA beginning in 2006.
Serial ATA technology provides a new serial interconnect designed to change the way vendors develop storage systems. The first deployments, where price is an important issue, were intended for client applications, entry-level servers and network-attached storage. As the infrastructure continues to develop, Serial ATA will continue to penetrate into higher-end servers and more complex storage systems.
Serial ATA initially defined a roadmap starting at 1.5 gigabits per second (equivalent to a data rate of 150MB/s) and migrating to 3.0 gigabits per second (300 MB/s), then to 6.0 gigabits per second (600 MB/s). This roadmap supports up to 10 years of storage evolution, based on historical trends.
Serial ATA supports legacy drivers for Parallel ATA. OEMs can deploy Serial ATA, today, using existing parallel ATA drivers.
One of the primary requirements of the Serial ATA 1.0 specification was to maintain backward compatibility with existing operating system drivers to eliminate incompatibility issues.
Because of the legacy support inherent in the specification, operating support will be simplified. The Serial ATA specification allows for additional features to be added to applications. Additional features will be subject to normal driver validation processes.
The end-user will benefit from lower cost, higher performance (via increased speed and scalability), and easier configuration. Serial ATA allows for higher performance while using existing, proven features such as 3.5" disk drives. Configuration of Serial ATA devices will eliminate many of today's requirements for jumpers and settings.
Benefits for the OEM:
More information, including additional FAQs, can be obtained at SATA-IO web site.
Intel has been a leading force, and it is one of over 160 companies driving the Serial ATA initiative to enable low cost, high-performance, next-generation disk interconnects. As a leading supplier of storage building blocks, including Intel® Architecture Processors, motherboards, I/O processors, ethernet NICs, RAID controllers, and iSCSI HBAs, Intel sees Serial ATA as a critical technology for next-generation storage platforms.