iSCSI SAN configuration guide

Trends such as virtualization, data center bridging and 10 GbE implementations have made iSCSI a more viable networking option. Find out what this means for your data center in this iSCSI SAN configuration guide.

After 10 years of continued use in the data center, it's safe to say that iSCSI SANs are a legitimate alternative to Fibre Channel technology. Despite primarily being used by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who place iSCSI's cost advantages and ease of implementation above Fibre Channel's availability and performance advantages, iSCSI has managed to find its way into enterprise-class data centers. A few key trends have led to the increased adoption of iSCSI, including the willingness of major vendors to build iSCSI into their product lineups; the ratification of the Data Center Bridging (DCB) standard, which allows for the convergence of Fibre Channel and iSCSI networks; and the emergence of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) networks that will bridge the gap between iSCSI and Fibre Channel performance.

This SearchStorage iSCSI SAN configuration guide will help data storage administrators understand the current iSCSI market landscape, give practical advice for configuring an iSCSI SAN, examine the implications of virtual storage on iSCSI technology, and provide an assessment on the future of iSCSI technology by featuring interviews from premier experts in the storage industry such as Dennis Martin of Demartek and Marc Staimer of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

Table of contents:

The iSCSI market

The need for a low-cost, easy-to-implement Ethernet storage protocol has increased the adoption of iSCSI technology. With many major vendors now offering some sort of iSCSI capability in their product lineups, and the adoption of 10 GbE improving iSCSI performance, look for continued change in this space.

Related links

Midmarket, enterprise data centers see growth in iSCSI SAN adoption

Gap closing between iSCSI and Fibre Channel

After 10 years, iSCSI is a viable FC competitor

Converged network adoption could end debate over iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet

Configuring your iSCSI SAN

Whether you're trying to learn the basics of implementing iSCSI or you're an experienced user concerned with the details of Windows Server 2008 and Ubuntu Server 11.04, these expert tips will give you an understanding of the dos and don'ts of iSCSI configuration.

Related links

Tips for integrating iSCSI into your Ethernet network

A beginner's guide to iSCSI storage

How to set up iSCSI for Ubuntu 11.04

Five ways to secure your iSCSI storage

iSCSI for virtual environments

Because many virtualization projects have cost savings as a priority line item, choosing a cheaper iSCSI SAN over more expensive Fibre Channel is an attractive option. The following articles detail how some firms have slashed their IT costs using virtualized iSCSI SANs.

Related links

iSCSI finding favor among IT shops looking to virtualize

VMware expert Mike Laverick on using iSCSI with virtualized servers

How to connect an iSCSI SAN to an ESXi virtualization host

What to look for when using iSCSI storage in a virtual environment

Hyper-V virtualization and iSCSI: Get the low-cost alternative

Comparing NAS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel for virtualized environments

The evolving iSCSI vendor landscape

Hewlett-Packard, Red Hat, Pure Storage and Panasas have all made headlines in the last two years by upgrading their iSCSI SANs to handle virtual environments and 10 GbE adoption. They understand that iSCSI compatibility is a way to easily integrate new generations of storage products into legacy systems. To learn more about the technical details of each vendor's product releases, read the news articles below.

Related links

HP LeftHand iSCSI array offers all-flash capability

Use Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization's iSCSI target software to build an inexpensive SAN

Pure Storage adds iSCSI support to its all-flash storage array

Panasas ponders iSCSI capabilities to become more of an enterprise play

Expert advice: Get the most out of your iSCSI storage array

In this section, storage experts discuss how to optimize iSCSI storage and what to expect from the technology in the future. Dennis Martin's podcast, recorded in November 2012, focuses on developments such as the emergence of data center bridging, the advantages of iSCSI over Fibre Channel, iSCSI multipathing and iSCSI security. Marc Staimer and Stephen Bigelow focus on best practices for implementation and a more general explanation of how iSCSI technology works.

Related links

Dennis Martin on iSCSI multipathing, security and DCB

Can the adoption of 10 GbE close the gap between iSCSI and FC?

The best ways to integrate iSCSI LUNs into a virtualized environment

A brief description of iSCSI technology

iSCSI SAN implementation guide for SMBs

How to avoid iSCSI deployment problems and performance bottlenecks