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Vol. 2 No. 11 January 2004

Getting ready for IP SANs

Understanding iSCSI host connections Because iSCSI sits on top of TCP/IP, any standard network interface card (NIC) could be used to connect a host to an IP storage area network (SAN). However, special-purpose iSCSI cards are becoming available that can reduce CPU utilization and potentially provide greater levels of performance--albeit at a higher price--than a general purpose NIC (See "Network interface card options," below). With a conventional NIC, all functionality above the GigE level is provided in software, including all SCSI, iSCSI and TCP/IP functions. The impact on the host depends on the CPU load and the I/O characteristics of the application. A lightly loaded CPU may have sufficient headroom to provide good iSCSI performance. A moderately busy CPU may even be able to support a light to moderate iSCSI load. There are two alternatives for offloading the iSCSI processing overload: TOE NICs and iSCSI adapters. A TCP/IP Offload Engine (TOE) NIC offloads all TCP/IP operations. This type of interface isn't specific to ...

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Features in this issue

  • Recent Funding

    Cash for several storage startups

  • Plan on disk-based backup

    by  Shane O'Neill

    Will 2004 be a breakthrough year for disk-based backup solutions? A new survey of Storage readers finds that while users are reluctant to completely eliminate tape from their backup environments, many are planning to deploy disk to complement tape in the next year.

  • Modular arrays earn new trust

    Modular arrays have come a long way recently, but are you ready to risk all of your company's mission-critical data on them?

  • Getting ready for IP SANs

    by  James Damoulakis

    IP SANs promise benefits to groups within your organization that up until now haven't had access to these kinds of capabilities. But before you even think of deploying an IP SAN, read this article.

Columns in this issue