If your IT shop is part of a small or midsize
organization and you’re currently evaluating your options for a
storage area network (SAN), the price tag on Fibre Channel more
than likely makes you cringe. For a more reasonable alternative,
consider one of the iSCSI storage solutions quickly making a name
for themselves from vendors such as Network Appliance, LeftHand
Networks, and EqualLogic.
Using an existing Ethernet/IP infrastructure,
iSCSI is a lower-end competitor of Fibre Channel, and it often
costs a fraction of the price of a full-fledged Fibre Channel
solution. Microsoft supports iSCSI SANs through its free iSCSI
Software Initiator package. An iSCSI initiator is the software or
hardware on a server that connects to the iSCSI target, which is
usually an array of disks.
Using iSCSI, companies can better leverage
storage dollars by centralizing the storage pool and allocating
spaces to services as needed rather than provisioning storage for
each and every server in the environment. While not as fast as
Fibre Channel, iSCSI can easily meet the needs of many smaller
To download Microsoft’s iSCSI Software
Initiator package and learn more about iSCSI, check out the
Microsoft Storage Technologies: iSCSI Web page.
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