It doesn't look like the iSCSI vs. Fibre Channel debate is going to end any time soon, but at least this article from CIO Today takes us beyond the cold technical perspective and looks at real-world installations and the reasons behind them. We get to meet several IT directors at a hosting company, a manufacturer and a municipality who opted for the low cost and easy deployment of iSCSI, a decision made even easier now that it has beefed up virtualization capabilities.
iSCSI virtualization got a shot in the arm a few weeks ago when VMware offered its support. Now, XenSource is joining the party, offering iSCSI on the latest version of its XenEnterprise platform. The company is hoping to leverage iSCSI with Network Access Control in such a way as to bring virtualization, storage and security all under one banner. The company has already named NetApp as a partner in this venture, with additional storage partners to be named soon.
Also intriguing is news from Brocade that it is coming out with an iSCSI version of its 10 GbE switch. The company still plans to support Fibre Channel, with the expectation that most existing FC customers will opt for iSCSI as an adjunct to their legacy systems.
Cisco is another firm that is playing both sides of the debate. While iSCSI is seen as a valid alternative for FC, the company still plans on significant Fibre Channel development, not because it's trying to protect a legacy market but because it is still seeing strong demand from customers.
In the end, this is not an argument solely about storage, but on the most efficient and effective way to get data in and out of the center.