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Simple, low-cost, SAN-in-a-box FC solutions are beginning to compete with iSCSI at the low end of the market. ISCSI over 10-Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) could pose a challenge in the future at the high end. So I guess I wouldn't characterize FC vs. iSCSI as actively being at war with one another -- instead it's more of a cold war that has the potential to heat up in the next couple years.
Where do you see competition between the two in the data center?Garrett: Around the edges of the data center -- however, I expect to see some competition, especially for e-mail and departmental databases, especially when 10 GigE iSCSI becomes affordable. Storage managers are very cautious, and because FC in the core of the data center is viable and reliable, I believe it'll be years before we see FC and iSCSI compete in the core of the data center.
Is iSCSI getting sturdy enough to handle the mission critical applications?Garrett: Yes, in my opinion it is. I've seen a lot of progress here lately from startups. In my opinion, it's been proven that a scalable, reliable and easy-to-use storage system that happens to connect to servers using iSCSI can be combined with enterprise-class reliability, features clustering, booting from a SAN and multipathing to create a reliable platform for mission critical applications.
Is performance a dated argument then?Garrett: Not at all. Perception is reality. This perception is the same as most end users I speak with. My goal during my talk at Storage Decisions is to address one such perception that does not reflect reality -- that iSCSI performance is significantly poorer than FC. [Also iSCSI] is not suitable for I/O intensive, response time sensitive application like e-mail and databases. I'll draw from my experience doing ESG Lab hands-on testing of iSCSI storage systems and apples-to-apples comparisons of iSCSI vs. FC performance.
To register for the Storage Decisions conference or check out the full agenda, go to StorageDecisions.com. Storage Decisions is a free conference for qualified attendees.