iSCSI Proving Very Flexible


If iSCSI has gained a reputation as the poor enterprise's storage networking protocol, then it should also get points for emerging as an extremely flexible and versatile solution as well.


The past few weeks have seen a number of new implementations and technology integrations all aimed at giving iSCSI the ability to establish multiple beachheads in a wide variety of enterprise environments, including high-performance ones.


On Tuesday, RELDATA introduced the 9240 SAN, which incorporates up to 12 TB of storage into a 2 U appliance, with expansion capabilities that can boost the device to 120 TB per RAID controller. The package also includes the RELvos Virtualization Operating System that offers management of both the integrated storage and external legacy disk arrays. 10 GbE connectivity provides for better than 70,000 IOPS at 800 MBps.


On the lower end, MicroNet has developed the MaxNAS system that combines NAS and iSCSI SAN storage on a single platform. The system offers file-based NAS operation with a central repository that scales up to 5 TB. Dual GE ports provide enterprise-class fault tolerance capabilities, including load balancing, IP multipathing and failover/failback. The company has aimed the system at SMBs with a list price of $1,699 for 5 TB.


There's also a fair amount of activity linking iSCSI to the leading virtualization platforms. Infortrend's EonStor iSCSI host RAID subsystem recently completed interoperability testing with VMware's Infrastructure 3 platform and the ESX 3.5 server. The move is expected to improve resource utilization on the EonStor and a host of compatible systems from Infortrend, such as single and redundant controllers and iSCSI-to-SAS and iSCSI-to-SATA systems.


Meanwhile, LeftHand Networks, soon to be part of HP, has bolstered its partnership with Virtual Iron through the LeftHand Technology Alliance Program. The union is aimed at providing integrated virtual iSCSI SAN environments through improved collaboration, cross-training and customer support. The companies say matching the VI platform with the SAN/iQ system improves availability and scalability and provides for simplified patch management and better disaster recovery and capacity management capabilities.


iSCSI may be the new SAN player on the block, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is at a disadvantage. Coming in fresh allows it to tailor itself to the needs of the enterprise, which could prove decisive for organizations facing rapidly changing IT requirements.