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Economy and capacity at odds

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iSCSI juggernaut?
iSCSI deployments continue to grow--not in leaps and bounds, but at a more leisurely pace. In this survey, 32% of storage managers have iSCSI storage in place, a solid increase over the 27% reported last spring. And while the 40% of respondents who say they have implemented or will implement iSCSI storage this year is a fairly healthy figure, it's the same percentage reported last spring, but still about a nine point jump from two years ago.

Surprisingly, the largest increase in planned iSCSI deployments was among larger companies, with 38% opting for iSCSI vs. 32% last spring. Enterprises also seem to be shaking some of their reliability and performance concerns about iSCSI, as 24% of those surveyed say they would use it for mission-critical apps. And 29% of big companies plan to run email on iSCSI, the highest percentage we've seen to date (see "What applications will you put on your iSCSI SANs?" below).

But for some companies, iSCSI isn't stirring up much interest. "We're happy with our [FC] SAN and local disk," says Stan Horwitz, senior systems manager at Temple University in Philadelphia. For other storage pros, it took a change in perception to consider a non-FC system.

"You have that FC mentality of 'Why would anybody use iSCSI? Fibre Channel works,'" says William Clemons, VP of technical services at ProAssurance Corp.

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in Birmingham, AL. "It really was a learning experience for us to kind of break away from just thinking of it as disk." Clemons and his group finally settled on a pair of NetApp arrays on which they'll run iSCSI along with FC and CIFS.

While the move to iSCSI has been something less than a stampede, it's definitely occurring. Compellent, LeftHand Networks and Nexsan Technologies Inc. have all moved into the Top 10 list of vendors that respondents from larger companies say they have purchased an array from or plan to. All three are primarily iSCSI vendors, which is just a little more evidence that iSCSI isn't just an SMB play.


This was first published in October 2008

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