SCSI Trade Association's SAS Plugfest includes first official active cable testing

Nov. 15, 2010
The 11th Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Plugfest was held in October at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).

SAN FRANCISCO -- The SCSI Trade Association (STA) announced that the 11th Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Plugfest was held the week of October 4, 2010, at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).

Nineteen companies, including both STA members and non-members, attended the Plugfest. The event included the first official active cable testing program held by STA. Several interconnect providers using cables in excess of 20 m were tested across several device pairings, which proved to be very successful, according to a press release.

RELATED NEWS: STA announces MultiLink SAS connectivity initiative

The highlight of the Plugfest was a large system build using 11 cascaded expanders, SAS switches, multiple host adapters, and numerous SAS and SATA storage devices containing large numbers of HDDs and SSDs. All of these devices were interconnected with a combination of passive, active and backplane connections demonstrating robust interoperability across a broad range of SAS devices. The cables alone, if stretched end-to-end, would span the length of a football field. It was by far the largest SAS system build ever tested at a STA Plugfest event.

This build was notable for a number of reasons, says STA. First, it demonstrated the systems’ wide-scale interoperability across multiple SAS devices and numerous vendors. Second, through the process of mixing a variety of interconnects, the build demonstrated the versatility and robustness of the SAS ecosystem. And finally, by successfully running large configurations at active cable distances, the build demonstrated the margin of safety available to system builders using 6Gb/s SAS.

Harry Mason, President of the SCSI Trade Association and Director of Industry Marketing for LSI Corporation stated, “The Plugfest was comprised of cable testing, with a focus on active cabling, pair testing of operating devices between vendors and then assembling the large system build. Each Plugfest has played a significant role in advancing the emerging capabilities of SAS. The progress demonstrated with active SAS cabling at this event was extremely rewarding.”

Mike Fitzpatrick, Engineering Fellow, Toshiba America Information Systems and Chairperson of the SAS Plugfest Technical Committee commented, “The interest ran high on all of the tests, however, the active cable tests and cable interoperability tests attracted a great deal of interest due to their timeliness, uniqueness, and current application to the needs of the attendees who are looking ahead to the next SAS generation.”

SAS represents a continuation of the logical SCSI command set. All Plugfests have consistently provided the means to preserve existing storage investments, deliver a favorable end-user experience, demonstrate interoperability and support both forward and backward compatibility. This Plugfest upheld the standard.

Companies that attended the October 2010 Plugfest included:

Agilent Technology
Amphenol Corporation
Hitachi GST
Intel Corporation
LeCroy Corporation
LSI Corporation
Molex Inc.
Pliant Technology
Seagate Technology
Tyco Electronics
Volex Inc.
Western Digital

Additional Plugfests will be scheduled in 2011. For more information, please visit the STA website at, send an email to [email protected], or call the STA office at 415-561-6273.

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