iSCSI takes on Fibre Channel

EqualLogic cites PeerStorage

It is difficult to find a traditional storage vendor to bad-mouth FC (Fibre Channel) despite the increased adoption of iSCSI.

But storage newcomer EqualLogic has no problem praising iSCSI and questioning the future viability of FC as the protocol of choice for SANs. This week EqualLogic will add replication technology to its own SAN, allowing snapshots of data volumes to be automatically moved within a building, across a campus, or to a different geographical location.

"We view FC as yesterday's technology," said John Joseph, vice president of marketing at EqualLogic. "It's just a matter of time before FC vendors start selling iSCSI products."

Joseph said the company's PeerStorage 100E, which uses iSCSI, an IP-based transport technology to move block storage, has already displaced several SANs based on FC technology.

Joseph credited the adoption of PeerStorage to its own merits, but he also said iSCSI will grow in popularity due to the fact that people understand IP and that its prevalence will make it more cost-effective than FC.

But FC equipment vendors still believe the FC protocol has merit. Ed Chapman, senior director of the storage technology group at Cisco Systems, pointed to the recent activity within the FC Industry Association (FCIA) to make the protocol run at 4Gbps via a simple firmware upgrade.

Today iSCSI only runs at 1Gbps, but there are efforts to move it to 10Gbps. FC, too, will move to 10Gbps. Both are expected to reach 10Gbps in 2005.

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