The use of SATA hard drives on SAS controllers is made possible by the fact that both share the same infrastructure and have similar features.
SATA drives may be plugged into SAS controllers.
SAS drives cannot be plugged into SATA controllers.
There is a difference between the SAS and SATA connectors, and both includes power and data. On SATA drives, there is a separation between power and data, while with SAS drives it is unified. See figure:
When choosing a drive, keep in mind that not all drives are made to be used in any given environment. There are many factors to take into consideration, including where and how the unit will be used, which applications will be used, and what the necessary requirements are, as well the capacity levels, performance, reliability, or speed needed.
For example, if you are going to use a drive in a 24x7 environment, a desktop drive would not be ideal because it is not designed to operate non-stop.
From the standpoint of performance, a SATA drive will not be able to match the performance of a SAS drive. The performance of SAS drives exceed that of SATA drives. Further, SAS drives are designed for continuous use. On the other hand, SATA drives generally have higher capacity for the price.