Wednesday, June 22, 2011

iSCSI: Internet SCSI ~ Picks up where DAS, NAS and SAN, Left Off

As the demands for data storage continue to increase on a global scale, a new technology standard has emerged to address the drawbacks of DAS, NAS, and SAN data storage solutions. Enter iSCSI. iSCSI (Internet SCSI) or SCSI over IP, was developed by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and ratified in February 2003. iSCSI transmits data via TCP/IP over existing network infrastructures, but with high performance blocklevel I/O. Instead of fragmenting and encapsulating actual data files into packets, as with NAS, iSCSI encapsulates much smaller SCSI command blocks.

This results in data transmission speeds at nearly the same rate as direct SCSI connections, and relieves the network of bandwidth depleting file level storage traffic. In addition, since block-level I/O is transferred over IP, high performance data storage is no longer held captive to just LAN and MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) environments, but is now applicable in WAN environments as well. Without the distance restrictions associated other storage solutions, iSCSI presents an effective way to accomplish high performance offsite disaster recovery. Use of iSCSI is also a great way to consolidate or “pool” data, making management a snap. This results in higher storage utilization which helps to keep IT costs down.

The advent of iSCSI enables small and medium businesses to reap the benefits of enterprise level Fibre Channel storage solutions, without the expense of implementation and mandatory support expertise. Companies now have a cost effective storage solution that provides high performance, utilization of existing network infrastructures, and centralized storage.

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