Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is now expecting to deliver a native iSCSI storage array in mid-2004 -- even further out than industry observers had been anticipating.
In an interview with Byte and Switch, Bob Schultz, who was recently appointed VP of HP's Network Storage Solutions group, said, "You'll see [iSCSI arrays] from HP in about 12 months from now."
The timing by the storage industry's biggest vendor in adopting iSCSI will certainly affect the broad adoption of IP SANs. Analysts had been expecting big OEMs like HP to start rolling out iSCSI storage systems -- which promise to deliver the benefits of block-level Fibre Channel SANs over an Ethernet infrastructure -- in the second half of 2003.
So far, Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) has been the only major storage systems vendor actively promoting iSCSI support for its platforms. Its iSCSI push closely followed the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)'s ratification of the first version of the specification in February. Also adding momentum to the cause was Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which said it would deliver an iSCSI driver for Windows in June (see Windows Soaks Up Storage, Microsoft to Unleash iSCSI, NetApp Blitzes on iSCSI, NetApp's IP SAN Wins a Fan, iSCSI Gets Go-Ahead, and IP SANs: Coming of Age).
But in general, iSCSI appears to be on a relatively slow ramp. One of the issues, says Schultz, is the moribund economy. "People are saying, 'I'm buying what I already have in place,' versus really putting new technologies in place. There's certainly been a lot of that over the last 18 months."