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There are five basic ways to bring iSCSI to a Fibre Channel SAN, each with its own benefits, shortcomings and "best-fit" environments.
Until recently, iSCSI was deployed mostly by small and midsized firms migrating from direct-attached to networked storage; large organizations remained loyal to more mature and proven Fibre Channel (FC) SANs. But the technology's low cost and simplicity has an increasing number of Fortune 1000 firms complementing their FC infrastructure with iSCSI SANs for data protection and Tier-2 storage.
Marrying iSCSI to FC isn't without its challenges. Bringing iSCSI into existing FC SANs not only raises integration issues, it leads to a somewhat more complex storage infrastructure that requires IP and FC knowledge, as well as the ability to manage and troubleshoot a multiprotocol storage environment. Storage architects attempting to go down this path must be familiar with iSCSI design options as they affect performance, security and availability.
This was first published in February 2007