SAS-Serial Attached SCSI, an evolution of parallel SCSI into a point-to-point serial peripheral interface in which controllers are linked directly to disk drives. SAS is a performance improvement over traditional SCSI because SAS enables multiple devices (up to 128) of different sizes and types to be connected simultaneously with thinner and longer cables; its full-duplex signal transmission supports 3.0Gb/s. In addition, SAS drives can be hot-plugged.

In topologies with more than two connected devices, SAS calls for the use of expander devices to allow for more than one host to connect to more than one peripheral.

SAS devices can communicate with both SATA and SCSI devices (the backplanes of SAS devices are identical to SATA devices). A key difference between SCSI and SAS devices is the addition in SAS devices of two data ports, each of which resides in a different SAS domain. This enables complete failover redundancy as if one path fails, there is still communication along a separate and independent path.

SAS vs parallel SCSI

* The SAS bus operates point-to-point while the SCSI bus is multidrop. Each SAS device is connected by a dedicated link to the initiator, unless an expander is used. If one initiator is connected to one target, there is no opportunity for contention; with parallel SCSI, even this situation could cause contention.
* SAS has no termination issues and does not require terminator packs like parallel SCSI.
* SAS eliminates clock skew.
* SAS supports up to 16,384 devices through the use of expanders, while Parallel SCSI has a limit of 8 or 16 devices on a single channel.
* SAS supports a higher transfer speed (3 or 6 Gbit/s) than most parallel SCSI standards. SAS achieves these speeds on each initiator-target connection, hence getting higher throughput, whereas parallel SCSI shares the speed across the entire multidrop bus.
* SAS controllers may support connecting to SATA devices, either directly connected using native SATA protocol or through SAS expanders using SATA Tunneled Protocol (STP).
* Both SAS and parallel SCSI use the SCSI command-set.

SAS vs SATA

* Systems identify SATA devices by their port number connected to the host bus adapter, while SAS devices are uniquely identified by their World Wide Name (WWN).
* SAS protocol supports multiple initiators in a SAS domain, while SATA has no analogous provision.
* Most SAS drives provide tagged command queuing, while most newer SATA drives provide native command queuing, each of which has its pros and cons.
* SATA follows the ATA command set and thus only supports hard drives and CD/DVD drives. In theory, SAS also supports numerous other devices including scanners and printers. However, this advantage could also be moot, as most such devices have also found alternative paths via such buses as USB, IEEE 1394 (FireWire), and Ethernet.
* SAS hardware allows multipath I/O to devices while SATA (prior to SATA 3Gb/s) does not. Per specification, SATA 3Gb/s makes use of port multipliers to achieve port expansion. Some port multiplier manufacturers have implemented multipath I/O using port multiplier hardware.
* SATA is marketed as a general-purpose successor to parallel ATA and has become

common in the consumer market, whereas the more-expensive SAS targets critical server applications.
* SAS error-recovery and error-reporting use SCSI commands which have more functionality than the ATA SMART commands used by SATA drives.
* SAS uses higher signaling voltages (800-1600 mV TX, 275-1600 mV RX) than SATA (400-600 mV TX, 325-600 mV RX). The higher voltage offers (among other features) the ability to use SAS in server backplanes.
* Because of its higher signaling voltages, SAS can use cables up to 8 m (26 ft) long, SATA has a cable-length limit of 1 m (3 ft).