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Panel: iSCSI Clear for Takeoff

NEW YORK -- You may have heard before that iSCSI is on the verge of a major breakthrough, but this time industry players insist that its really happening.

A roundtable panel of storage industry executives at a J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. conference here today agreed that, while mass adoption of the technology may not be imminent, huge strides have already been made.

“I think the interesting message is that iSCSI is here, and it’s real,” said Peter Hayden, the co-founder, president, and CEO of EqualLogic Inc., a startup that has recently started shipping its iSCSI-based storage system (see EqualLogic Unfurls iSCSI Flag).

Joining Hayden on the panel were representatives from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), and J.P. Morgan Chase’s Lab division, which has been testing iSCSI from an end-user perspective (see Cisco Implants IP in SANs). The panel was moderated by IDC analyst Richard Villars.

While industry observers have been predicting for years that the iSCSI protocol, which is designed to send block-level SCSI demands over IP networks, was ready to take off, today’s panelists all said recent developments are finally allowing the emerging technology to gain some ground. Among the more important developments pushing iSCSI forward was the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) official approval of the protocol in February, and the growing number of vendors offering iSCSI-enabled products, including big players like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Cisco.

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