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EqualLogic Unfurls iSCSI Flag

Startup EqualLogic Inc. -- which is officially shipping its iSCSI-based storage system this week -- believes it has a first-mover advantage over larger vendors that are afraid of eating their own children with IP SANs (see EqualLogic Ships iSCSI Array).

Peter Hayden, CEO of Nashua, N.H.-based EqualLogic, says the hesitation from larger vendors in rolling out iSCSI systems stems from the fact that they're still focused on the entry-level segments and haven't identified the larger, potentially more lucrative, midtier market for IP SANs.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), for example, expects to tap this market in 12 months. The iSCSI protocol, standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), transmits block-level storage over IP networks (see HP: iSCSI Still a Year Off and iSCSI Gets Go-Ahead).

"What people are missing -- and what they're trying to hide from -- is the midmarket enterprise opportunity for iSCSI," he says. "And it is substantial. They're worried about cannibalizing sales of their existing product lines."

Hayden argues that only perhaps one-fourth of any enterprise's data center storage will be attached to a Fibre Channel SAN, leaving a large population of servers that aren't currently connected to network storage. "Customers are looking for simpler, more cost-effective ways to build a SAN," says Hayden.

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