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Serial Cables SA-ENC12G-01A 12Gb/s SAS3 JBOD External Storage Review

Serial Cables SA-ENC12G-01A 12Gb/s SAS3 JBOD External Storage Review

Serial Cables' SA-ENC12G-01A JBOD is designed for lab environments and testing applications. We test the 12GB/s enclosure with the fastest SSDs out.

| RAID/HBA in IT/Datacenter | Posted: May 6, 2014 2:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%      Manufacturer: Serial Cables

Introduction

 

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The Serial Cables SA-ENC12G-01A JBOD is designed for 2.5-inch HDD/SSD testing environments. The JBOD allows DAS use of 12Gb/s SAS and SATA devices, and it also provides backwards compatibility with the previous 6 Gb/s and 3 Gb/s generations. A major issue encountered by many manufacturers is signal integrity and 10b errors when testing 12Gb/s storage devices. This is usually from too much loss between the host and the end device, and Serial Cables designed their JBOD to address this problem by providing the purest connection possible. The JBOD doesn't feature an expander chip or other components that affect latency.

 

Serial Cables focuses on providing testing equipment for design and validation engineering groups, along with a wide variety of cables and specialty items. Serial Cables provides a wide range of fibre channel cables and SFPs, and cabling for HD SAS/SATA, SCSI, PCIe, Infiniband cable, and numerous adapters and accessories. Serialcables.com also provides pictures and wiring diagrams of all cables they supply.

 

The wait for 12Gb/s SAS infrastructure was a bit frustrating. We actually had 12Gb/s SSDs in the lab long before there were HBAs or RAID controllers available for testing. Once the required components began trickling in, we ran into problems finding dual-port SAS cabling and connection converters. Serial Cables led the way, and they often have cabling options and specialty items not carried by other vendors. Serial Cables is a certified LSI Channel Alliance Partner and SandForce Trusted Partner, and they provide the cabling supplied with LSI RAID controllers and HBAs.

 

Creating a refined solution for design and engineering groups, along with normal hardware users, requires attention to detail and a resilient design. 12Gb/s devices require higher quality PCB assemblies that have lower loss. The 12Gb/s SAS specification calls for enhanced transmit and receive equalization. This is accomplished with the 12Gb/s compliant Quarch backplane that provides connection for eight 2.5-inch drives with SFF8680/SFF8643 connections. The SA-ENC12G-01A JBOD also supports dual-port connections to test all SAS features.

 

The JBOD provides a copious amount of airflow with a rating of 3.5 meters per minute. Typically, anything above two meters per minute is sufficient. The design of the JBOD includes slotted air intakes through the handles to optimize airflow. During our testing, all SSDs and HDDs remained well below the expected temperature range.

 

The SA-ENC12G-01A has an integrated 150W power supply to power the drives. We tested power consumption during our use of the JBOD. With the high-powered HGST SSD800MH SSDs, it peaked at 111 watts.

 

Serial Cables also provides a 19-inch rack mount for the JBOD, allowing the placement of two JBODs side-by-side in a rack. The slim design only requires 2U of space, and when stood vertically, the enclosure occupies very little space. The design is efficient and provides an excellent amount of storage density. The fans on the SA-ENC12G-01A are not quiet, but they also don't match the noise of most 1U and 2U server racks. In lab and development environments, noise is not a large concern. The current design doesn't allow fan adjustment, but for office environments, it would be nice to have the ability to dial down the fans.

 

Serial Cables has enjoyed significant success with this inaugural JBOD design, and they are now shipping the SA-ENC12G-018 tool-less 8-bay JBOD and the larger 24-bay SAS/SATA test box. The 24-bay design also has enhanced features, such as power measurement and individual on/off control, that can be programmed through USB, Telnet, and Ethernet.

 

We have actually been using the SA-ENC12G-01A for several months with a wide range of storage devices. The design and build quality are top-notch, and the JBOD is warrantied for one year. Let's take a closer look at the device and see how it fares in our testing.

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