Let the iSCSI Games Begin

From the time the iSCSI specification was ratified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) this winter, there's been a spate of iSCSI product announcements.

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From the time the iSCSI specification was ratified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) this winter, there's been a spate of iSCSI product announcements.

Leading the herd was Network Appliance, which announced iSCSI support for its FAS900 series, available as a free download to existing customers. The FAS900 can already be configured as part of a Fibre Channel SAN, but NetApp anticipates that some customers will run Microsoft Exchange and SQLServer over Ethernet and iSCSI instead.

Hewlett-Packard put its toe in the iSCSI waters with the introduction of its HP StorageWorks SR2122 iSCSI storage router, a Cisco-manufactured router with two front-side Gigabit Ethernet ports and two back-end Fibre Channel ports. It's intended, "as a complement to Fibre Channel," says HP's Mark Nagaitis, director of product marketing, for servers where "the cost justification hasn't quite been there to connect to the SAN." It won't deliver the performance of a Fibre Channel solution, but the SR2122 can help customers "take steps into iSCSI to connect stranded servers into the storage utility."

Some vendors took ratification of the spec as a chance to reintroduce already shipping products, for example, Eurologic, which upgraded its Elantra iCS2100 IP-SAN storage appliance to comply with the recently ratified spec.

Then, LSI Logic announced the iMegaRAID, an iSCSI version of its MegaRAID RAID controller. According to Ken Zarrabi, a product manager at LSI's RAID storage adapters division, the iMegaRAID is currently being qualified by LSI's OEM partners. Zarrabi expects iSCSI targets built on iMegaRAID to ship this year.

But for many iSCSI hopefuls, the real fun will begin when Microsoft releases its iSCSI driver this June, which will open up iSCSI to the Windows market, says John Howarth, senior director of product marketing at iSCSI disk target maker, Intransa. "That's huge. If you get XP or Windows 2000 updates, iSCSI will automatically be there," he says.

This was first published in April 2003
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