iSCSI SAN storage and its role in data storage environments

Learn about iSCSI SAN storage. We explain how to use iSCSI SANs in a virtual environment, debunk myths about iSCSI technology and offer iSCSI best practices.

Since its introduction, many people have been skeptical of iSCSI SAN storage. According to past Storage magazine surveys, users didn't wish to deploy iSCSI in their data storage environments due to worries related to performance and reliability. However, those concerns often had to do with older, more primitive versions of iSCSI. Current iSCSI storage systems have improved, and iSCSI SANs are now considered by many a worthy competitor to Fibre Channel SANs.

"iSCSI is a great option for environments that need networked, block-level shared storage to support applications such as databases [Oracle and SQL], Exchange or deployment of server-based file sharing systems," said Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO Group.

However, Schulz did issue some iSCSI warnings. Additional software is often required on a server to actually share the data. In addition, people often think their costs are reduced because they don't need adapters with iSCSI. But they might bump into additional costs or complexities with iSCSI SANs because it "opens the door to other SAN solution options," Schulz said. Still, he sees a bright future for iSCSI SAN storage. "It continues to find new market and deployment opportunities co-existing with other tiered storage networking technologies, including shared SAS, Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet, all targeted at different environments, usage requirements and opportunities," he said.

To help you get a better grasp on iSCSI SAN storage and determine whether or not iSCSI is right for your data storage environment, has compiled its most popular iSCSI content in one spot. This iSCSI guide will show you what iSCSI SANs offer in a storage landscape, explain common iSCSI storage misconceptions and offer a cheat sheet on best practices for iSCSIs in VMware environments.

iSCSI essentials: A practical guide to iSCSI storage
This essential guide was designed to educate you on all the different aspects of iSCSI storage: what types of environments it's good for and what you can expect from the technology. Find out how iSCSI and VMware work together, as well as the pros and cons of iSCSI vs. Fibre Channel.

iSCSI storage: Rising profile in enterprise data centers
Explore our full report on the rise of iSCSI storage in enterprise data centers. Learn the five best practices you need to take into consideration when deploying iSCSI SANs in a virtual server environment. Or read a one-on-one interview with Biotechnology Computing Research Group on why they decided to use an iSCSI storage system.

iSCSI storage: Common misconceptions
Learn about the many misconceptions surrounding iSCSI storage. Can it be portioned like RAID? Is there such a thing as iSCSI disk? What about iSCSI network-attached storage (NAS)? Read about the term iSCSI NAS, find out if there is such a thing as iSCSI disk, and learn about whether or not iSCSI has the ability to be partitioned as RAID. This podcast with Greg Schulz answers questions about iSCSI technology.

iSCSI in VMware environments: Best practices
Here are several iSCSI best practices you should keep in mind when using the technology in VMware environments.

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