ISCSI - Next Big Thing or H-IP-E?
Not a War Between iSCSI And Fibre Channel
- On the Chinese calendar, 2004 will be the Year of the
Monkey. On the network storage calendar, 2004 will be the
Year of iSCSI - according to an IP storage panel that met in
New York. The panel was part of the Storage Networking
Industry Association (SNIA)'s IP Storage "On the
Road" Seminar Series. It consisted of an IDC analyst
and six IP storage vendors, who agreed that iSCSI's time has
come, even though Fibre Channel will stick around for a long
time. This forecast agrees with the most recent Byte and
Switch Insider report, which states that after more than
three years of hype and hope, IP storage networks are
finally coming to market with all the necessary ingredients
(see B&S Insider Scopes IP SANs).
has taken a lot of crap up until this year," said
Robert Gray, IDC's head of storage systems research.
"But it's really busting out now."
and his fellow panelists say the stars are aligned for
iSCSI, thanks to a number of drivers: support of iSCSI by
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT - message board); a rollout of
iSCSI products from a range of other vendors; the continued
data explosion; an increased focus on disaster recovery; the
desire for better management of storage for small and
mid-sized businesses; and an increase in spending on
networked storage. Missing from the list: a desire to
replace Fibre Channel SANs.
it's not a war between iSCSI and Fibre Channel," Gray
insisted. "We'll see Fibre Channel in the high end and
IP-based storage below that. Most of the rap on iSCSI is,
'Does it perform like Fibre Channel? No.' But it's not going
to replace Fibre Channel. Companies are not going to throw
out their Fibre Channel SANs."
companies that don't have Fibre Channel SANs will likely opt
for iSCSI instead. According to the panel, iSCSI is set to
become the key SAN protocol for smaller companies. Indeed,
the migration to iSCSI will begin as products that implement
the protocol replace direct attached storage (DAS) as the
model of choice for small and medium-sized businesses,
larger organizations will hang onto Fibre Channel SANs for
another decade. ISCSI's role will be to complement Fibre
Channel in large companies. Example: IP will complement
Fibre Channel for secondary storage - data that a company
decides is not mission critical. IP storage makes for a
cheaper and simpler alternative, especially as ATA disks
decrease in price and companies rely less on tape backup.
choice is an architectural one, the panel claimed.
"This isn't a Fibre Channel versus iSCSI question, it's
DAS versus network storage," said David Dale, Network
Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP - message board) industry
evangelist and marketing chair of the IP Storage Forum.
"ISCSI is really complementary to Fibre Channel, and to
NAS as well."
the panel did not hesitate to point out advantages of iSCSI
over Fibre Channel, such as its ability to connect over
longer distances, lower cost, and simpler management.
Because Fibre Channel SANs already cost a lot to install,
enterprises will be reluctant to ditch them. It's different
with DAS, which companies must replace to meet growing data
storage and management needs. The panel agreed that Windows
will be the sweet spot for iSCSI. Microsoft ships iSCSI
initiators with its operating system and recently began
certifying hardware for iSCSI (see Microsoft Blesses iSCSI
support is really big; it puts it on everybody's
radar," NetApp's Dale said. "If you're running
Microsoft Exchange, you want iSCSI." Growing storage
budgets will also help iSCSI pick up momentum next year. IDC
projects that 55 percent of companies expect to increase
storage spending in 2004. Gray says many companies are just
now funding disaster recovery projects planned in the wake
of 9/11. Dale said all signs point to mass adoption of
iSCSI. "Things that motivate the market are
there," he said. "Standards are behind us, early
adopters are behind us, we're seeing products, and we have
case studies. Next year will be a huge year for iSCSI."
(Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch/ma)
Yuval Shilansky, Regional Sales Manager
(00972-3) 767-4844, Fax (00972-3) 647-4104