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ISCSI ecosystem thriving

If any one technology could steal the show at SNW this year, it might just be iSCSI as announcements pour in.

PHOENIX -- Judging by the number of iSCSI-related announcements today at Storage Networking World (SNW), iSCSI isn't just alive, it's kicking too. Here is a sampling of the iSCSI news to cross the wires today:

Far from the sunny climes of Scottsdale, Ariz., Mississauga, Ontario-based emBoot Inc., announced an iSCSI first: netBoot/i, a Windows software iSCSI initiator that supports remote boot from a SAN. Before netBoot/i, IP SAN administrators who wanted to boot Windows servers off the SAN had to outfit them with pricey iSCSI host bus adapters (HBA). As distinct hardware components, HBAs can be configured to come up earlier in the boot process.

Other features of netBoot/i include a system snapshot tool for copying local boot volumes to iSCSI targets, support for Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol, shared boot volumes and target redirection. NetBoot/i also conforms to the latest iSCSI draft (20).

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Storage security encryption player Decru Inc. also announced something of an iSCSI first – an iSCSI storage encryption appliance. The first member of the DataFort i-Series family of appliances, the DataFort i115, joins Decru's existing line of Fibre Channel-based devices. The company hopes to ship the appliance this summer with a list price of $9,900.

ISCSI target maker Intransa Inc., meanwhile, laid claim to being first to market with SMI-S support for an IP SAN.

Other iSCSI announcements are a wee bit more pedestrian. For example, users of EMC Corp.'s low-end NetWin 110 and 200 NAS arrays can now use them as iSCSI targets, thanks to FalconStor Software's newly found status as a member of EMC's NAS Partner Program. As such, its iSCSI Storage Server for Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 is now certified to integrate with the EMC devices.

But many of the other iSCSI-related announcements and demonstrations at the show are admittedly forward-looking. The aforementioned Intransa, for example, is showing off its next-generation IntraStor storage controller running with clustering interconnect 10 Gigabit Ethernet solutions from Chelsio Communications and Neterion Technologies, as well as WAN optimization and acceleration solutions from Swan Labs.

iSCSI chip maker iVivity Inc. is also planning to demonstrate a 10 Gbps iSCSI SAN this week, alongside partners Broadcom Corp. and StoreAge Ltd. The solution, iVivity promises, delivers full 10 Gbps iSCSI performance, simultaneously manages both block and file IO, and handles all the popular disk interfaces.

Finally, there's iStor Networks Inc., which will present a complete, new-generation system-on-a-chip. The iSNP8000 ™ provides full 10 Gbps iSCSI, TCP and IP offload coupled with a number of embedded processors running a full-featured storage virtualization firmware stack. IStor's plans are to integrate the iSCSI RAID array on a chip with its GigaStor family of subsystem storage controllers, which includes support for both Serial ATA and serial-attached SCSI disk drives.

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