The promise of 10GB Ethernet is on the lips of many vendors offering iSCSI. "It is in laboratories now," Heers said. "We'll start to see it next year. It's not going to overthrow Fibre Channel, but it will ramp up speed."
In addition to souped up speed, the best scenario for customers was to have the choice in terms of connecting the two technologies, Heers said indicating NetApp products can support both Fibre Channel and iSCSI.
"Users can connect both, and run different chunks of applications at the same time," he said. "One piece could be Fibre Channel, while the other iSCSI, which would be all wired to the same infrastructure. It will run SAN/NAS and iSCSI protocols."
Heers said a third of NetApp customers run at least two of the three protocols. "The industry is moving towards offering this choice. It makes it easier for customers."
EMC's Gold said the company is also offering customers a choice between the two protocols, and moving away from the lock-in approach. "Many vendors may say they support both protocols, but under the covers, there are restrictions," he said.
Like Heers, Gold looks forward to the rollout of 10GB Ethernet. "Once this comes out, you'll have a quantum leap of IP technology in terms of speed, so the speed argument will disappear.
"At the end of the day, we shouldn't get into religious wars about this stuff. There will be demand for both Fibre Channel and iSCSI. Fibre Channel will handle the large data loads, mission-critical, high throughput zones, while IP will bring in the stranded servers and work well in remote sites or branch offices."