SANs Encompass iSCSI

EMC offers iSCSI alongside Fibre Channel, proving IP SANs are catching on

October 21, 2006

2 Min Read
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5:30 PM -- Among the slew of product rollouts EMC will make next week is one that reinforces the fact that Fibre Channel SAN vendors are increasingly learning to live with -- if not love -- iSCSI.

With its launch of Clariions that support iSCSI and Fibre Channel in the same system Monday, EMC will become the third FC SAN vendor to add an iSCSI product to its portfolio within a week. (See EMC in Full Launch Mode.) And that doesnt include IP SAN vendor LeftHand's announcement that it would make its SAN/IQ software available to install on Hewlett-Packard DL380 servers -- turning them into iSCSI controllers.

Earlier this week, Xiotech launched its entry-level IP SAN, the Magnitude 750. (See Xiotech Intros Storage System.) Pillar Data began offering iSCSI as an option with Fibre Channel on a new low-end Axiom system. (See Pillar Extends Reach.)

Outside of Pillar, all the other SAN vendors with recent iSCSI announcements had some type of IP SAN before. EMC sells low-end IP SANs, HP offers iSCSI for its midrange EVA SANs through a QLogic multiprotocol router (EMC uses a card version of QLogic's same product for its new Clariion), and Xiotech had iSCSI connectivity for its midrange Magnitudes.

Considering Fibre Channel vendors accepted iSCSI slowly and in small doses at first, we can assume they're adding more IP connectivity because they're getting more requests from customers.And while many of those customers see iSCSI connectivity as a useful feature in Fibre Channel SANs, others are deciding iSCSI is all they need.

Take Jeff Pelot, CTO of Denver Health Hospital. He's been running LeftHand IP SANs alongside EMC Clariions since 2002, trusting more and more applications to LeftHand. Now he's hoping to be FC-free by the middle of next year.

"I'm looking to remove my Fibre Channel SAN and use only LeftHand for most file systems, enterprise databases, and those types of things," Pelot says. "The more types of systems you have to manage, the more problems it creates from a resource point of view because your people have to know more."

He says he hasn't gone all-IP yet because his hospital runs custom applications that he wants to run in a test setting awhile longer before moving them off Fibre Channel. He's down to three applications on Clariions.

"Fibre Channel SANs will mask a lot of performance problems because they're so fast," he says. "But LeftHand continues to improve its SAN/IQ, and we hope we can run those applications on the HP DL380s."— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Pillar Data Systems Inc.

  • LeftHand Networks Inc.

  • Xiotech Corp.

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