Serial Storage Architecture

What Does Serial Storage Architecture Mean?

Serial Storage Architecture (SSA) is an open protocol used to facilitate high-speed data transfer between disks, clusters, and servers. SSA is an industry and user supported storage interface technology.


The SSA concept was developed by the IBM engineer Ian Judd in the early 1990s. IBM developed several SSA products, including disk enclosures, storage servers, and host bus adapters. SSA products are based on the Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) standard.

Techopedia Explains Serial Storage Architecture

Applications like e-commerce, video on-demand, and video conferencing are rapidly advancing, due to expanded network infrastructures and computer processing speeds. Such applications use networks to accommodate data requirements and require systems with sufficient storage capacity, fault tolerance, and high data bandwidth.

To meet increasing storage system demands, the SSA standard was developed for deployment in mainframe environments, networked computer systems, and small systems. SSA provides high-performance Serial Attached Technology (SAT) to link disk drives and servers.

SSA is configured with two point-to-point links connected through the ports of two different devices. A node, such as a storage device with two ports, connects to two other storage devices using two link pairs. If each storage device has two ports, they are easily linked as an SSA loop. SSA configuration provides 20 MBps of link bandwidth and supports total data bandwidth of 80 MBps.

SSA benefits include:

  • Enables spatial reuse because links do not interfere with adjacent nodes.
  • Supports simultaneous full-duplex data transmission.
  • Provides data security through fault tolerance.
  • Supports hot swapping of hard drives.
  • Detects disruptions and automatically resets systems without connection disruption.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.