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10Gb/sec Ethernet
The advent of 10Gb/sec Ethernet bodes well for iSCSI. With Dynamic TCP Offload added to 10Gb/sec adapters running iSCSI, users will see the benefits--higher performance and access--of removing TCP processing from the host computer and placing it on a dedicated HBA from vendors such as Alacritech, Neterion Inc. and NetXen Inc. Dynamic TCP Offload takes advantage of Microsoft's TCP Chimney Offload technology, which offloads the TCP stack to the network card.

According to Stamford, CT--based market research group Gartner Inc., iSCSI is expected to be a $2 billion market by 2010. In addition, IDC, Framingham, MA, estimates that from now through 2010, iSCSI SANs will show a compound annual growth rate of 74.8% for worldwide revenue vs. 4.1% for Fibre Channel. IDC also claims the iSCSI protocol will capture more than 10% of storage systems revenue and an even greater percentage of capacity by 2008.

Bollinger, who uses QLogic HBAs that perform both TCP and iSCSI offload, says he'll migrate to 10Gb/sec Ethernet for the trunks between university buildings.

"10Gb/sec to 100Gb/sec is in our planning process and further validates

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our decision to deploy iSCSI," says Kash at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "I'm comfortable that iSCSI is going to take over from Fibre Channel, and [that] it will no longer be considered a low-cost, lower performing alternative."

Rima says "we can do TCP Offload with the TCP Offload on our NetApp boxes," adding that "10Gig should allow us to scale up quite a bit."

Besides the use of existing Ethernet switches, adapters and common Category 6 cabling, users have seen other advantages. "The ROI of iSCSI is hard to measure, but our complaints from users on performance issues are practically non-existent now," says Safeway Insurance Group's Leather. "That's a huge ROI. In our business, if someone has trouble with our Web site while they're writing insurance, they won't wait for us, they'll just go to the next insurance carrier. You can't measure the lost business."

This was first published in April 2008

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