Q

iSCSI replacing NIC cards?

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One vendor told me that iSCSI will be popular and it could replace the NIC in each PC system. I am confused about that. In my opinion, I think an iSCSI card will be installed potentially in servers and NAS appliances in a few years. However, I don't think that each PC has to install an iSCSI card as it will create a lot of troubles for MIS managers. Can you image that? Let end-users have access to data via doing block calls. And it...

will also create another problem - LAN and SAN convergence.

Maybe I misunderstood but I hope you can elaborate a little bit on this. Thanks.


If you believe everything a vendor tells you.... Remember, the initial idea behind iSCSI was to use Ethernet and IP with the standard NIC you have installed so you don't have to change your infrastructure.

It's been found that the performance is not up to the requirements for most so a specialized NIC, a TCPIP accelerator with some iSCSI function offloaded along with new device drivers, is needed. Like you say, this will be a major headache. You need to look at what your requirements are. iSCSI is there to compete with NAS for use of storage over IP networks. With iSCSI you can do block I/O which is required in many high performance applications but may not be suitable unless you make the infrastructure changes. Therefore it may negate the original premise.

Fibre Channel based SANs may be necessary for the performance required. A NAS solution may be suitable for your environment and certainly a lot less hassle. You determine what your requirements are and then do the evaluation as to what is suitable based on cost, complexity and performance to meet your needs.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in June 2002

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