I'm looking to build a new NAS for a video editing business, and a hot-swappable server chassis with a backplate would inevitably make life easier.

These chassis tend to be SAS-based, which I understand is theoretically compatible with SATA3 drives. I also understand that pure SAS offers many efficiency and reliability advantages over SATA in a storage environment, both physically and in its commands/protocols.

However, since (high-end) SATA3 drives are easier to come by (and useful for legacy purposes) I'm curious as to whether they would experience any benefits from ensuring proper SAS controllers and connections right up to the SATA drives?

I wouldn't expect performance improvements, but I am interested in whether this would enable the system to provide any reliability/management benefits via SAS-based communication. A lot of Googling has only returned vague and unsubstantiated mentions of the possibility. "Nearline SAS" sounded promising, but I couldn't determine whether that referred to high-end SATA drives, or low-end SAS drives.

Since configuration may be relevant to the answer, I am currently looking at RAID10 in Storage Spaces (Windows Server 2016) with WD Gold 12TB drives.


  • This is a question that might be specific to the hardware. But, I'm pretty sure your SATA drives will be treated just like that - SATA drives. There won't be any benefits or capabilities you achieve by using a SAS backplane. – Appleoddity Sep 21 '17 at 4:20

There's no point really. If you want to get SAS functionality there's a compromise in a way of NL-SAS: SATA drives with SAS interface.

  • As mentioned in my question, I'm aware NL-SAS exists (although the clarification helps), but SATA3 drives are easier to come by (Australia tends to be more limited in regards to tech) and useful for legacy purposes. I'm not looking for a conclusion so much as information about differences. – Cyanara Sep 28 '17 at 7:28

SATA drives can and are supported being attached to SAS ports (e.g. adapter, controller, in a server, storage system, etc) as it is part of the SAS & SATA specifications, however not the other way around (e.g. SAS devices attach to SATA ports).

SATA devices can utilize full speed of the port, however it depends on a device. Having said that, many SSD drives (including the enterprise one) are SATA.

NL-SAS is basically a SAS disk with SATA construction (rotational speed and capacity) - it has a SAS interface and SCSI command set.

As for 2-way mirrored Storage Spaces and SAS/SATA drives, everything depends on your needs. Performance wise - SAS drives, capacity - SATA.


Adding to Ben Fever, I was also in a similar situation to yourself.

I ended up building a Storage Server with SAS Hot-swap and used some Dell H700 controllers for SAS 6G (SATA 3) speeds.

I have used both SATA and SAS disks with it and its worked well. I have used anything from 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Disks to 4TB 7200 RPM SAS Disks. Performance difference is nominal but is slightly noticeable in favor of SAS.

I tend to find SAS Drive as less likely to fail, I have also found over time that Seagate disks have been the highest rate of failure in my environment time and time again.

When choosing your disk avoid anything 5400 or 5900 RPM or Green Energy Saving Drives if your looking for performance.

I would recommend making 100% sure the controller you intend to use supports the disk size you want to use firstly and secondly the brand / make.

One item I used which may appeal depending on size and space requirements on your new server is below:

5 x 3.5 SATA Hot Swap into 3 x 5.25 Drive Bays | Server Case UK

This for me was great as the case I used although a regular ATX Case had 10x 5.25 Drive Bays so this gave me 15 Hot Swap Disks over two Dell H700 Controllers.

Hope you get the build you want working :)

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