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FC/iSCSI differences

What is the main difference/advantage between Fibre Channel and iSCSI?

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Fibre Channel is fast -- it uses hardware-intensive implementations. It is oriented towards storage protocols and handles the command - response relationship of storage well. Modern storage systems use Fibre Channel.

iSCSI uses Ethernet and IP which sometimes has performance issues. The underlying command set of SCSI has to be encapsulated through each layer (Ethernet, IP, iSCSI) and requires a lot of overhead. The command-response structure is typically handled in a session layer in the program stack. FC is dominating in deployment in the enterprise datacenter and will continue to be. The small to medium business market (which is the biggest segment) is the best opportunity for iSCSI.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in October 2002

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