iSCSI gets some respect

Having received a renewed boost from those who see it moving out of niche markets, iSCSI (Internet SCSI) may finally be getting some much-needed respect.

“We’re seeing more interest [in iSCSI],” said Jeff Barnett, manager of storage software strategy at IBM. The company’s recent upgrade to its TotalStorage SVC (SAN Volume Control) product included iSCSI support, and sources believe more Big Blue iSCSI-based products are on the way.

IBM competitor Dell, through its partnership with EMC, offers a low-cost SAN with its AX100 product, which utilizes Fibre Channel. Dell officials have hinted that the AX100 may be available with iSCSI in the future.

Users are also catching on to iSCSI. “We’re not replacing our SAN environment with iSCSI, but it does complement our existing environment,” said Ken Walters, senior director of enterprise technology at the Public Broadcasting Service.

Several companies are making moves in the iSCSI market. In July, Adaptec, a large provider of iSCSI components, acquired Snap Appliance, a leading vendor in the NAS market. Snap recently announced its first iSCSI-enabled NAS array, the Snap Server 18000. Smaller companies are also announcing iSCSI offerings. Nimbus Data Systems recently released two iSCSI-based IPSes (IP SANs), the Nimbus IPS-500 and Nimbus IPS-1000.

iSCSI is a protocol for encapsulating SCSI commands into TCP/IP packets and for enabling block data transport via IP networks. An appeal of iSCSI is that it delivers block-level storage via an IP network.

“This year, we’re seeing a lot of companies testing and tire-kicking the [iSCSI] technology. Next year, we’ll see more mainstream adoption,” said Phil Goodwin, an analyst at Diogenes Analytical Labs.