Protocol Analyzers

Sierra M124A

The SAS Sierra M124A Protocol Test System is Teledyne LeCroy's 7th generation protocol analyzer system that provides 100% accurate protocol capture of both SAS (SAS 3.0) and SATA (SATA 3.0). The industry's most widely used test platform for SAS and SATA features unmatched analysis and debug capabilities to help pinpoint problems at every layer of the protocol.

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Sierra T244  The Industry's first SAS 4.0 protocol analyzer provides accurate and reliable capture of up to four SAS 24 Gb/s physical links for efficient test and debug of next generation storage systems.
Sierra M244  The industry's first SAS 4.0 protocol analyzer / jammer / exerciser system for testing next generation storage systems, devices and software.
Sierra M124A  The flagship four port analyzer, exerciser and error injection system provides the most accurate and reliable capture of SAS 12 Gb/s protocol for fast debug, analysis and problem solving.
Sierra M122A  Two port Serial ATA (SATA) & Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) analyzer / exerciser platform; Supports 6Gb/s (upgradeable to support 12Gb/s SAS)
Serial ATA Test and Verification: Teledyne LeCroy's protocol analysis tools are designed from the ground up to address these unique characteristics of Serial ATA. Teledyne LeCroy's analysis and design suites are developed specifically for use with the SAS and SATA protocols, and provide extensive protocol decoding, expert error analysis, and complete user support when decoding and viewing the recorded traffic. This extensive protocol support, combined with the different traffic views, advanced triggering, data filtering, traffic generation, and error injection capability, allows engineers to rapidly become familiar with SATA-specific issues, and quickly understand new issues the first time they encounter them.
Teledyne LeCroy provides everything needed for Serial ATA analysis including real-time hardware triggering and filtering on the critical components of Serial ATA traffic. Teledyne LeCroy's Expert Analysis software simplifies the overall debug process by using collapsible, color-coded packets to represent commands, FISs and primitives. This provides point-and-click "drill down" to lower level details along with the ease of use and understanding that Teledyne LeCroy is well known for.
Learn more about SATA (Serial ATA)Technology
SATA (Serial ATA) Overview
The storage industry is in the midst of a large-scale transition from parallel ATA, the dominant desktop storage interface, to Serial ATA. This migration reflects a broader transition across the industry to Serial technologies for computer-based communications. Driven primarily by lower voltages and costs required in future chipsets, Serial ATA is poised for industry-wide adoption. The specification thoughtfully preserves software compatibility with the Parallel ATA command set. What's more, it offers smaller, thinner, lower cost cables that also offer compatibility at the physical layer with the emerging Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) standard.
  • Performance - Parallel ATA does not have scalability to support several more speed doublings, and it is nearing its performance capacity. By contrast, Serial ATA defines a roadmap starting at 1.5 gigabits per second (equivalent to a data rate of 150 MB/s) up to 6Gigabits per second.
  • Lower Voltage - Parallel ATA's 5-volt signaling requirement will be increasingly difficult to meet as the industry continues to reduce chip core voltages. Serial ATA is better aligned with future manufacturing processes. It reduces signaling voltages to approximately 250 millivolts (1/4 volt).
  • Pin Count - Currently, the parallel ATA interface has 26 signal pins going into the interface chip. Serial ATA uses only 4 signal pins, improving the pin efficiency and accommodating a highly integrated chip implementation.
  • Improved Cabling - Parallel ATA bulky ribbon cables contain 40-pin header connector. Serial ATA introduces thin, flexible cabling scheme that offers longer cables and improved airflow within the chassis.
  • Software Compatible - Serial ATA is compatible at the register level with parallel ATA. This means Serial ATA requires no changes to existing software and operating systems in order to function, and it provides backward compatibility with existing operating environments.
  • SAS Compatibility - A significant feature offered by Serial ATA is the expectation that SATA will be form-factor compatibility with Serial Attached SCSI. SATA drives will plug directly into Serial Attached SCSI connectors and if supported in the system, will transparently operate as a SATA device. This allows systems to be deployed that can use either Serial Attached SCSI drives, for their high performance or SATA drives that will provide a lower-cost-per-megabyte storage platform.
  • SATA DevSleep™ - The latest SATA 3.2 specification includes DevSleep, a new feature designed to reduce power consumption and allow longer battery life as well as energy savings in the data center. It re-uses the 3.3V power pin on the SATA interface to instruct the device to enter the Sleep state where it uses less power than Slumber mode. With most low power modes, this new feature requires extensive testing at the protocol layer to ensure a seamless user experience.
  • Serial ATA is a full duplex protocol. There is a continuous flow of signals from each device moving down the bus. The device and host are transmitting (TX) and receiving (RX) at the same time.
  • Bidirectional traffic pattern eliminates the need for bus negotiation overhead
  • Data characters vs Primitives - Primitives are the simplest elements within the Serial ATA protocol. Primitives are 32-bit DWORDs used to initiate control of the serial line functions (X_RDY, CONT, etc...). In addition to these "handshaking" and flow control signals, Primitives are also used to delimit or "frame" user data.
  • Frame Information Structure (FIS) - A frame is an indivisible unit of information exchanged between a host and device. A frame consists of a SOF primitive, a Frame Information Structure (FIS), a CRC calculated over the contents of the FIS, and an EOF primitive. A FIS is the user payload of a frame; a frame is a group of Dwords that convey information between host and device as described previously.

Leveraging Teledyne LeCroy's extensive expertise in high-speed serial data analysis, the Sierra M124A provides the most accurate capture, display and analysis of both SAS and SATA protocol at data rates up to 12 Gb/s. This multifunction validation platform is available with an integrated traffic generator capable of mimicking real host and device behaviors. The error injection option allows stress testing at the system and component level. Combining best-in-class hardware capabilities with comprehensive analysis features, the Sierra M124A is the smart choice for SAS/SATA protocol test.

Flexible, Extensible 12G Protocol Test System

With four recording channels, the M124A can intelligently monitor and correlate traffic across 4-wide expander links. Cascade multiple Sierra M124A systems (up to 8) for monitoring traffic between adjacent 4-wide links. The Sierra M124A can be upgraded with traffic generation (Trainer) or error injection (InFusion) capabilities allowing this single platform to address both debug and verification tasks.

Unmatched Accuracy with T.A.P.3

The Sierra M124A features custom probe technology known as T.A.P.3 (Transparent Acquisition Probing) which has been field proven in Teledyne LeCroy’s market-leading Summit PCIe 3.0 analyzer platform. Designed to non-intrusively record SAS 12 Gbps signaling, T.A.P.3 technology utilizes a custom linear amplifier and line conditioner that passes through signals that are very close in physical behavior to those on the probe’s receiver. With this implementation, the dynamic equalization protocol that is part of the SAS 12G PHY layer is also preserved. Extensively tested with early12 Gbps SAS HBAs and devices, the Sierra M124A has shown seamless interoperability with SAS targets and zero functional impact on the system under test.

Detailed Protocol Specific Support

Sierra's analysis tools are developed specifically for use with the SAS and SATA protocols to provide extensive decoding and expert error analysis when viewing recorded traffic. Combined with the different traffic views, advanced triggering, data filtering, traffic generation, and error injection capability, engineers have all the tools they need to identify problems and complete end-to-end validation testing.

Innovative, Flexible, and Compact System Design

The Sierra M124A platform is designed for convenience, portability, and flexibility. Both the M122/M124A platforms are available in the full SAS 3.0 configuration (3G / 6G /12G) or with SAS 2.0 capabilities (3G / 6G only) allowing users to upgrade to 12G support in the future. Both data bus ports are located in the front for convenient access, as well as the system controls and connectors. The Sierra's array of status indicators includes information on negotiated link speed, protocol error detection, link-up, out-of-band (OOB) and data frames currently on the bus. The LCD screen reports which user is currently connected to the Sierra system, the system IP address and status, which can be set from the front panel interface. Host connectivity to the Sierra includes support for both USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. The expansion port allows for future enhancements, such as providing DC power to a drive. The Sierra enclosure is easily positioned on the bench top or integrated into a 19" rack.

Expert Analysis Software

From the link layer to the application layer, the Sierra analysis suite offers a wide range of traffic views and tools to enable engineers to easily zero-in on areas of interest. When working at the frame level, the Text View shows exchanges of frames and accompanying primitives. For viewing commands and frames in chronological order, the Spreadsheet View can filter out unwanted primitives and frames to simplify the display. The Sierra also features a hierarchical view for the application layer, logically assembling frames and primitives that are related to commands. The traditional hierarchical view groups commands, data, and status. This option shows gaps between command start and command end, or other complexities such as Time-Domain Multiplexing. The hierarchical display can be drilled-down to view the frame and link layers. All of the views for expert analysis can be used simultaneously and are automatically synchronized and displayed within one application.

Pin-point triggering

From looking for a particular frame, to more complex events such as timing and status between events, Sierra's logical triggering algorithms give the engineer the ability to quickly define multiple logical state changes with 4 independent timers and counters. Sierra's powerful trigger capabilities include up to a 24-level state sequencer, the ability to pre-filter at each state, and the ability to assign individual triggers to each port pair. Triggering on specific header fields or commands is easy thanks to protocol-specific awareness. Spend more time engineering and less time looking with the deepest trigger available.

Automated Intelligence through software

With Sierra's transparent post-processing, searching, and hiding of unwanted traffic, analyzing the captured data has never been easier. Protocol-specific decoding, including the full CBW as well as SAS and SATA event metrics allow engineers to easily determine what was captured at a glance. Event metrics including command throughput, completion time, command types, frames, bus events, and primitives all allow the engineer to quickly find areas of interest.

Performance reports can reveal command execution, errors, and other data traffic issues. Selecting from the broad range of reports provides each customer with rapid access to the information you seek.

Infusion Error Injection Option

Building on the capabilities of the industry's first SAS/SATA error injection system, the InFusion option for Sierra M124A can programmatically alter or corrupt traffic for both SAS 12G and SATA 6G protocols. Fully integrated within the Sierra M124A platform, Infusion is designed to create faulty link conditions while the analyzer records the real response from the system under test. The InFusion 12G solution is the ideal tool for stress testing systems while running real traffic and actual workloads.

Protocols SupportedSAS and SATA
Data Rates Supported12 Gb/s, 6 Gb/s, 3 Gb/s and 1.5 Gb/s
Trace Memory SizeUp to 64 GB
No of Ports SupportedM124A: Up to 4 ports
M6-4: Up to 4 ports
M6-2: Up to 2 ports
CascadeableM124A: Up to 32 ports
M6-4: Up to 32 ports
M6-2: Up to 16 ports
TriggeringAdvanced State Machine Trigger
FilteringPre-recording and Post-recording
Spread Spectrum ClockingYes
Performance AnalysisYes
Simulated Waveform Display of OOBYes
Data Bus InterfaceM124A: MiniSAS HD Connectors with copper or active optical cabling (AOC)
M122: MiniSAS HD Connectors with copper cabling
M6-4: MiniSAS Connectors
M6-2: Internal-style SATA Connectors
Front Panel ConnectorsM124A: MiniSAS HD Initiator, MiniSAS HD Target,  External Trigger In/Out, USB3.0, 1GE
M6-4: MiniSAS Initiator, MiniSAS Target,  External Trigger In/Out, USB 2.0, 10/100 Ethernet
M6-2: SATA-style Initiators (2 ports), SATA-style  Targets (2 ports), External Trigger In/Out,  USB 2,0, 10/100 Ethernet
Front Panel IndicatorsM124A: LEDs (Trigger, Error, Line, Link Speed, Frame/OOB) for each of 4 initiators and 4 Targets; Status Display Panel
M6-4: 5 LEDs (Trigger, Error, Line, Link Speed, Frame/OOB) for each of 4 initiators and 4 Targets; Status Display Panel, Expansion Slot
M6-2: 5 LEDs (Trigger, Error, Line, Link Speed, Frame/OOB) for each of 2 initiators and 2 Targets; Status Display Panel
Rear Panel ConnectorsM124A: AC Power, Expansion Slot
M6-4: AC Power
M6-2: AC Power, Expansion Slot
Host RequirementsWindows 8.1 / Windows 7 / Windows XP / Windows Server 2012 (x64) / Windows Server 2008 (R2)
Host InterfaceUSB3.0 or USB2.0 or 10/100/1000 Ethernet
DimensionsM124A: 39.4 x 36.3 x 4.45 cm (15.5" x 14.3" x 1.75")
M6-4: 39.4 x 36.3 x 9.7 cm (15.5" x 14.3" x 3.8")
M6-2: 31.75 x 30 x 5 cm (12.5" x 11" x 2")
WeightM124A: 3.6 Kg (8.5 lbs)
M6-4: 5.9 Kg (13 lbs)
M6-2: 2.45 Kg (5.4 lbs)
Power RequirementsM124A: 90-254 VAC, 47-63 Hz, 200W Max
M6-4: 100-200 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 125W
M6-2: 90-254 VAC, 47-63 Hz, 100W
Operating Temperature0 to 50 C (32 to 121 F)
Non-operating-20 to 80 C  (-4 to 176 F)
Operating Humidity10% to 90% RH (non-condensing)
Sierra Error Injector (Jammer)
Sierra SAS Traffic Generator
SAS 6 Gbps Analysis Option
CrossSync Multi-Protocol Analysis option
Sierra External Power Expansion Card v2
SAS Verification Option
1U Zero Carrying Case