New kid on the storage block

This could be the year that iSCSI debuts on your network.

Internet SCSI — better known as iSCSI — emerged as a draft standard in 2002 and received the full blessing of the Internet Engineering Task Force early last year. But the technology appears to be hitting its stride now, as support for it grows among storage vendors.

The key appeal of iSCSI is that it delivers block-level storage via a standard IP network, an infrastructure that is already in place at most organizations. Network-attached storage also uses IP networks, but does so to transfer file-level storage.

The lower block-level access is important for databases and other applications that benefit from the higher performance.

Until now, information technology managers who are moving away from the traditional but constrictive storage model — where storage attaches directly to servers — had one main alternative for handling block storage: Fibre Channel-based storage-area networks (SANs).

That approach, although effective, has proven too expensive for some storage customers. Fibre Channel SANs represent another network that must be maintained in addition to an organization's primary data pathway — typically Ethernet networks based on TCP/IP.

"Most of our customers have been trying to step away from direct-attached storage for quite some time," said Dan Smith, enterprise technology consultant with GTSI Corp.'s storage technology team. "The main problem is being able to deliver block-

level storage at prices that are lower than the Fibre Channel alternative."

iSCSI promises to do just that. The main cost savings comes from the ability to use existing networks and not having to invest in Fibre Channel gear and support specialists. "You don't have to build a Fibre Channel infrastructure," said John DeNardo, IT director for Eagle County, Colo. "As a result of that, your costs go down."

County officials have installed an IP-based SAN using LeftHand Networks Inc. products. DeNardo said the IP SAN's purchase price was two to three times less than a Fibre Channel SAN. The IP SAN also helps the county government save on training. "I would consume my annual training budget to train one guy to do Fibre Channel," he said.

Lower operational costs make IP SANs attractive to resource-constrained government agencies, industry officials said.

Deployment methods

When it comes to iSCSI deployment, customers can opt for what George Crump, vice president of technology solutions at storage integrator Sanz Inc., describes as a turnkey solution. Vendors such as Equallogic Inc. and LeftHand Networks offer iSCSI packages that include disk arrays and SAN management capabilities. Turnkey IP SANs of this type generally cost $15,000 to $25,000, according to industry watchers.

In other words, a managed IP SAN costs less than $10 per gigabyte, said Tom Major, vice president of marketing at LeftHand Networks. A managed Fibre Channel SAN, he added, may cost $40 to $50 per gigabyte.

An iSCSI SAN may become the storage network of choice for officials at small to midsize organizations who find Fibre Channel too expensive. But larger organizations with existing Fibre Channel networks can also take advantage of iSCSI. A device called a storage router can be installed to translate between iSCSI and Fibre Channel. The router intermediary lets servers on an IP network access Fibre Channel storage.

"The router type of solution will be for the more traditional data centers where they have an existing SAN and want to extend its use for more servers," Crump said. Storage routers of this type start at about $12,000.

Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.