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Integrating iSCSI and FC storage

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Server-based iSCSI integration
Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 now supports iSCSI. FalconStor upped the ante by adding FC support to its IPStor platform, which supports iSCSI, FC and NAS all in one box. Similar to intelligent storage switches, IPStor offers advanced storage features like storage virtualization, snapshots, mirroring and replication.

IPStor closely resembles the Sanrad iSCSI V-Switch with one difference: The IPStor software can run on any server platform in almost any conceivable configuration. "We chose FalconStor IPStor for its flexibility, which allows us to integrate our existing HP MSA1000 FC array with FalconStor SATA storage, all managed through IPStor," says Logs Financial Services' Schneidemantle. He installed a primary and secondary data center with the IPStor cluster in the primary data center replicating to an IPStor cluster in the secondary data center over iSCSI.

The biggest benefit of server-based iSCSI integration is the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of integration requirements. On the downside, software that runs on a standard server makes it more susceptible to problems, as Schneidemantle discovered. "We changed the automatic active-active IPStor cluster failover to manual failover after a power failure, during which neither of the two cluster nodes came back," he says.

10GbE on the horizon
The price of 10Gb Ethernet is expected to drop enough to become an affordable option for

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iSCSI networks. This will allow storage architects to use iSCSI for high-end applications that would have ended up on FC storage in the past. "Existing apps will stay on FC," says Robert Grey, research vice president, worldwide storage systems research at IDC, Framingham, MA. "But new apps will increasingly choose iSCSI."

This was first published in February 2007

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