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Among those planning virtualization deployments, there's a fairly even split among implementation approaches, with host-based virtualization slightly favored over array- and appliance-based alternatives.
The favored disk vendor, reflected in both actual purchases and consideration as a prime disk system source, is EMC Corp. Thirty-one percent of respondents named EMC as their prime disk system vendor (see "EMC leads again as prime disk vendor"), while 46% said they'll buy or have bought a storage system from EMC in 2006. Who users consider their primary disk vendor is more a gauge of mindshare than actual purchases, but EMC has come out on top on both counts since surpassing HP three years ago. While EMC's prime vendor number dipped slightly in this survey, HP's prime vendor rating sagged even more; so despite a bit of slippage, EMC has widened its margin.
iSCSI picks up steam
There's been a recent flurry of activity in the iSCSI market, which is beginning to be reflected in the purchasing plans of storage managers. Thirty-one percent of respondents say they're planning iSCSI implementations this year, which is up from 24% six months ago and the highest level of interest we've seen in the year and a half we've been tracking iSCSI deployment plans (see "iSCSI implementations on the rise").
iSCSI adoption is particularly strong among smaller companies, with 35% saying they'll opt for iSCSI storage in 2006. For the first time, small companies' intentions for iSCSI outranked the number of large- and medium-sized companies planning to implement iSCSI storage. The upturn in small companies' iSCSI plans is particularly dramatic, up 12 percentage points since last fall's survey and 20 points since the fall of 2004.
San Francisco-based CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. plans to move from DAS to networked storage this year. "We're just starting to get into a SAN," says Darrick Wilson, a systems consultant at the firm. "We're looking at an iSCSI SAN." Wilson expects his firm to start with approximately 3TB of SAN storage, and likes the fact that iSCSI arrays don't require a special network. "Cost is definitely a derivative here--we are a small shop," he notes.
iSCSI represents a low-cost route to storage networking. But low prices aren't the only attraction for small businesses. Because iSCSI can leverage existing IP network infrastructures, these companies don't need to develop entirely new skill sets or hire specialized personnel to operate and maintain their storage systems. Vendors that have been actively catering to the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) sector have rolled out a variety of iSCSI arrays, some with entry-level configurations that make networked storage affordable to companies with decidedly modest IT budgets. Most of the large, entrenched vendors now offer iSCSI alternatives to Fibre Channel.
This was first published in June 2006