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Target storage arrays are available from almost every storage vendor, including EMC Corp., NetApp and Overland Storage Inc., among others. Target software--available from vendors such as FalconStor Software Inc., Open-E GmbH and StorMagic--lets users add to commodity servers or gray-box storage arrays from Intel Corp. to make them iSCSI compatible, and so they appear to the client as a local SCSI device (see "A sampling of iSCSI target devices," (PDF) below).

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iSCSI can also be implemented with gateway technology in which an iSCSI controller attaches to a block-level storage array, thus enabling iSCSI transport. Examples of gateway-enabled iSCSI products are available from Reldata Inc. and StoneFly Inc.

In addition, a number of vendors have joined the iSCSI and FC worlds with what's called unified or multiprotocol storage. Vendors such as Microsoft, NetApp and Pillar Data Systems market arrays or software that can attach to the Ethernet network as a NAS or iSCSI device, and to the FC SAN.

Various-sized businesses have adopted iSCSI because it's easy to install, inexpensive, behaves just like Ethernet and doesn't require special skills like FC does.

"We don't have Fibre Channel experience," says Scott Christiansen, IT director at Leo A. Daly, an architectural and engineering firm in Omaha, NE. "To get the iSCSI SAN up and running was so quick and easy; it was just unbelievable." Christiansen adds that the SAN "uses the same media as the Ethernet network; it's nice in the sense that everything we buy is Category 6 cable--it works for Ethernet, it works for the IP SAN."

This was first published in April 2008

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