After years of listening to iSCSI hype, some IT professionals are embracing a new generation of IP-based storage subsystems, a group that includes the PeerStorage Array 100E, an iSCSI array from Nashua, NH-based EqualLogic.
George Kajos, vice president of engineering at Broadbus, a Boxborough, MA-based startup, chose the EqualLogic array as the storage component for the company's streaming video server "first and foremost, because its an iSCSI device," Kajos says, with "the flexibility of running TCP/IP over GigE."
Kajos also liked the array's RAID 5 support and easy expansion. RAID 5 provides data protection without having to mirror the data. In a world where a single movie takes up multiple gigabytes, "mirroring is not a great word," Kajos says. And to add capacity, all you do is plug another array into the cluster. In contrast, with the current generation of video servers, if you want to expand your storage, you "take down the whole array," Kajos explains.
Similarly, iSCSI sealed the PeerStorage Array's spot at a large financial firm recently, says one of the company's vice presidents, who asked not to be named. Because iSCSI is IP-based, "all our people are comfortable with it, we have the tools to manage it." His group, which investigates new technologies, is deploying the PeerStorage Array to reduce the total cost of ownership of desktop PCs. As such, they've mounted employees' "My Documents" folders to the EqualLogic array, and may use it to house the company's Exchange environment.
To ensure the iSCSI array doesn't overwhelm the network, the firm separates storage and LAN traffic onto dual NICs. At $20 per card, running separate storage and LAN Ethernet networks makes more sense than equipping desktops with a single NIC that also supports iSCSI or TCP/IP offload. These can cost several hundreds of dollars.