With the release of the Fibre Channel and SAN based on it the storage world staked
on a network access to storage devices. Almost everyone announced that the future
belonged to the storage area networks. For several years the FC interface was
the only standard for such networks but today many realize that it's not so. The
SAN based on the FC has some disadvantages, which are the price and difficulties
of access to remote devices. At present there are some initiatives which are being
standardized; they are meant to solve or diminish the problems. The most interesting
of them is iSCSI.
NEED FOR IP STORAGE
Several factors are rapidly expanding worldwide storage requirements:
" A pervasive global economy
Over the past decade, many enterprises have seen a significant increase in the
volume of data produced. The amount of data continues to increase, particularly
in Web-based and e-Commerce environments. E-mail impacts worldwide storage by
producing more data than is generated by new Web pages. These types of traffic
are typically multimedia intensive. E-mail and Internet-related business/commercial
transactions combined have caused a dramatic increase in storable data moving
across Internet Protocol (IP) networks. This traffic can potentially overwhelm
existing backup methods. A new method is needed to bring improved storage capabilities
to IP networks and reduce limitations associated with Fibre Channel SANs. A rapidly
emerging technology solution is Internet SCSI (iSCSI) or SCSI over IP.
IS GIGA BIT iSCSI?
Internet SCSI (iSCSI) is a draft standard protocol for encapsulating SCSI command
into TCP/IP packets and enabling I/O block data transport over IP networks. iSCSI
can be used to build IP-based SANs. The simple, yet powerful technology can help
provide a high-speed, low-cost, long-distance storage solution for Web sites,
service providers, enterprises and other organizations. An iSCSI HBA, or storage
NIC, connects storage resources over Ethernet. As a result, core transport layers
can be managed using existing network management applications. High-level management
activities of the iSCSI protocol - such as permissions, device information and
configuration - can easily be layered over or built into these applications. For
this reason, the deployment of interoperable, robust enterprise management solutions
for iSCSI devices is expected to occur quickly. First-generation iSCSI HBA performance
is expected to be well suited for the workgroup or departmental storage requirements
of medium- and large-sized businesses. The expected availability of TCP/IP Offload
Engines in 2002 will significantly improve the performance of iSCSI products.
Performance comparable to Fibre Channel is expected when vendors begin shipping
10 Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI products in 2003.
The Convergence of Storage and Networking
The emerging iSCSI protocol specifies a method for encapsulating SCSI commands
in the TCP/IP protocol - the messaging protocol of the Internet. This encapsulation
means that the Internet, or any TCP/IP network, can be used to carry storage traffic.
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