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The Age of iSCSI

As the IETF finalizes its approval of the iSCSI standard this month, IT shops can at last begin testing and deploying fast, cheap, networked storage solutions.

The promise of true block-based storage on an IP network using current infrastructures has been long awaited. In the next year you'll see a bevy of new products followed by early adoptions and test systems.

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Certainly there will be questions about compatibility across legacy storage devices, departmental SANs, remote sites and more. However, standards proponents have done plenty of due diligence to ensure that iSCSI doesn't have the systemic compatibility issues that plagued Fibre Channel, where cross-vendor compatibility for hardware and software suffered.

Companies that have Fibre Channel SANs or are thinking about getting SANs should seriously consider this technology. For early adopters, we suggest using VLANs for iSCSI traffic on your Ethernet switches or, if the traffic is heavy, placing it on a separate switch. We also recommend implementing iSCSI Host Bus Adapters with TOE (TCP Offload Engine) to make sure the iSCSI operations performed by your server don't use excessive CPU cycles.

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