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Monday, May 16, 2005

Gigabit iSCSI - The Future of Networks??

Internet SCSI (iSCSI) is a draft standard protocol for encapsulating SCSI command into TCP/IP packets and enabling I/O block data transport over IP networks. iSCSI can be used to build IP-based SANs.

The simple, yet powerful technology can help provide a high-speed, low-cost, long-distance storage solution for Web sites, service providers, enterprises and other organizations.
An iSCSI HBA, or storage NIC, connects storage resources over Ethernet. As a result, core transport layers can be managed using existing network management applications. High-level management activities of the iSCSI protocol – such as permissions, device information and
configuration – can easily be layered over or built into these applications.

For this reason, the deployment of interoperable, robust enterprise management solutions for iSCSI devices is expected to occur quickly. First-generation iSCSI HBA performance is expected to be wellsuited for the workgroup or departmental storage requirements of medium- and large-sized businesses. The expected availability of TCP/IP Offload Engines in 2002 will significantly improve the performance of iSCSI products. Performance comparable to Fibre Channel is expected when vendors begin shipping 10 Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI products in 2003.

Benefits
By combining SCSI, Ethernet and TCP/IP, Gigabit iSCSI delivers these key advantages:

  • Builds on stable and familiar standards – many IT staffs are familiar with the technologies
  • Creates a SAN with a reduced TCO – installation and maintenance costs are low since the TCP/IP suite reduces the need for hiring specialized personnel
  • Provides a high degree of interoperability – reduces disparate networks and cabling, and uses regular Ethernet switches instead of special Fibre Channel switches
  • Ethernet transmissions can travel over the Global IP Network and therefore have no practical distance limitations
  • Scales to 10 Gigabit – comparable to OC-192 SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) rates in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs)

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