Seagate has become the second company to announce that it will be showing its Pulsar.2 12Gbps SATA SSD at tomorrow’s SCSI Trade Association meeting in Santa Clara, California. The first was Western Digital. (See “WD’s HGST to demo 12Gbps SAS SSD at SCSI Trade Association Technology Showcase next week in California”) Like WD’s announcement last week, Seagate’s press release says its new SSD is compatible with controllers from PMC-Sierra and LSI Corp.
It’s no surprise that the drive vendors are chomping at the bit to up the interface bit rate on SSDs. The interface port is the bottleneck. Internally, SSDs can increase the number of Flash memory channels to get just about any desired bandwidth, so the limiting factor becomes the drive interface bandwidth. What’s in the way? Faster SerDes and the ever-present concerns about backwards compatibility. According to the Seagate release, the 12Gbps version of the SAS standard is “currently stable” and the company expects production drives will hit the market in 2013.
SerDes IP blocks have been able to crack 20Gbps for a while now and such data rates are routinely available on current-generation FPGAs. So you should expect that 12Gbps isn’t the end of the line for SAS interface speed boosts. There’s clearly more to come.