NetApp First with Optical SAS for Flexibility and Resilience

By Zev Rubenstein, Product Marketing Manager, and Vivek Kohli Sr. Product Manager, NetApp


The storage industry relies on serial attached SCSI (SAS) to deliver excellent performance, scalability, and availability—both as a drive technology and as a connection between controllers and drive shelves.


With our introduction today of the industry’s first optical SAS interconnect technology, NetApp has made a good thing even better, providing more flexible configuration options for connecting storage and simplifying deployment of MetroCluster.


Simplify Storage Deployment

In busy data centers, finding free rack space where you need it can be a challenge. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to find space within the 20M active copper cable limit, and you certainly can’t rearrange your data center every time you need to add storage.


With optical SAS you can add disk shelves to your NetApp storage with less concern for distance limitations. This gives you increased flexibility in how you deploy and expand storage. You no longer have to move systems around or reserve space for future upgrades. Your expansion storage can be located many aisles away or on another floor if that’s where you have available space.

Reduce MetroCluster Deployment Costs

NetApp MetroCluster software provides synchronous mirroring over campus and metropolitan area distances for continuous data availability. MetroCluster implementations that span separate data centers in the same facility or campus have become extremely popular.


NetApp optical SAS cabling lets you create a “zero-footprint” MetroCluster configuration that spans up to 500M using pre-existing optical infrastructure without the need for SAS to Fibre Channel bridges that add complexity and expense and consume valuable rack space, power and cooling.


NetApp Optical SAS

Our optical SAS implementation is the only SAS-2-compatible optical interconnect solution, putting NetApp significantly ahead of the game.


Optical SAS extends SAS capabilities while maintaining full compatibility with our existing line of SAS-2 shelves and media. It replaces length-limited copper cabling with optical cables that can be up to 150 meters (multi-mode fiber) or 500 meters in length (single-mode fiber.) Because the same QSFP connectors are used, no additional hardware is required on storage controllers or shelves. Our intelligent optical cables have built-in electronics that convert electrical signals to optical signals, and provide full compatibility with native SAS protocols while supporting total cable lengths up to 100X longer than copper.


Deployment Options

A variety of cabling choices makes optical SAS simple to deploy. Multimode fiber options include a selection of fixed length cables ranging up to 50M.


Tired of managing the excess that results when using fixed-length cables? Create custom lengths from 50M to 150M by combining our QSFP transceivers with your optical MPO cables and have the exact length you need for every connection.


We also have both multi-mode and single-mode optical patch panel connection options designed to utilize your existing optical infrastructure.


Storage Innovation Leadership

Optical SAS cabling is the latest in a long line of NetApp storage innovations. We were the first major storage vendor with SATA disks in 2002, the first with SAS disks in 2007 and much more. Our position in the storage industry allows us to closely track technology trends and target the innovations that deliver the greatest value for real-world environments. 


For more information on optical SAS, check out the SAS FAQ, ask a question in the NetApp community, or contact NetApp Sales.


Great article!  It's fantastic to see NetApp's continued leadership and innovation shaping the storage industry.  Optical SAS will be a welcomed relieve by crowded data centers for sure.

one of the best seller of optical products .