For iSCSI, Next Year Is Now

'Next year's technology' is running out of time to make its mark

December 28, 2005

2 Min Read
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6:20 PM -- Grizzled Fibre Channel vets like to joke that IP SANs have been next year's” technology for about five years now. And although 2005 showed promise for iSCSI, it didn’t quite turn out to be its year. Despite jumping significantly from last year, IP SAN revenue has barely made a dent in Fibre Channel sales. (See IDC Cites Record Storage and iSCSI Ramping, Says IDC.)

Now 2006 could be the last year for iSCSI. Not so much for the technology, but for dedicated IP SAN startups.

The list of complete IP SAN vendors is dwindling fast, with EqualLogic and LeftHand still making progress while others fall by the wayside. Sanrad allows customers to replicate and manage data through IP connections, but will never be a viable alternative to full-fledge Fibre Channel SANs. StoneFly is all but dead, and Intransa needs to partner with a top-tier storage vendor to stay alive. (See StoneFly Fights for Survival and Intransa Trades In CEO.)

The good news for iSCSI is that EqualLogic and LeftHand continue to increase sales. The bad news is the margins for iSCSI remain low, making it a difficult business proposition. That’s why the Fibre Channel vendors haven’t embraced it, or gone on any acquisition sprees. (See EMC Mounts iSCSI Blitz.)

Network Appliance and EMC will continue to lead the iSCSI market next year while Hewlett-Packard continues to gain ground, but they see iSCSI merely as a connectivity option for their Fibre Channel SANs. If EqualLogic or LeftHand can’t turn the corner on profitability, the crumbs offered by Fibre Channel vendors might be the only iSCSI option available a year from now.— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • EqualLogic Inc.

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • LeftHand Networks Inc.

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Sanrad Inc.

  • StoneFly Inc.

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