Whether iSCSI will help or hinder the manageability of storage resources depends on the amount of time storage managers are willing to wait for improvements to the technology.
iSCSI in its current state cannot exist alone. For one thing, iSCSI cant keep up with Fibre Channel from a performance standpoint. For another, although new products are on the horizon, there are very few iSCSI-based storage systems on the market today.
Storage managers who want to use iSCSI now will have to create a hybrid network running iSCSI together with Fibre Channel storage systems. Juggling the two will no doubt cause headaches because storage management products need to be enhanced to handle iSCSI networking components.
Storage management software vendors, including Veritas Software Corp. and Legato Systems Inc., have given demonstrations in recent weeks of their backup products running on iSCSI networks. However, until vendors certify these and other important systems, such as clustering and file replication, storage managers cannot hope to run these tools in iSCSI environments without a fair amount of muss and fuss.
More important than the issue of augmenting current storage management products to support iSCSI will be the inclusion of iSCSI products in the Distributed Management Task Forces WBEM (Web-Based Enterprise Management) and CIM (Common Information Model) standards development process.
WBEM calls for the creation of a core set of standard technologies for managing enterprise computing environments, while CIM is a model for describing overall management data.
iSCSI vendors need to adhere to the WBEM and CIM standards to make sure they will be able to interoperate with next-generation SAN management utilities. eWeek Labs hopes they do because the use of iSCSI can greatly improve SAN management.
IP, over which iSCSI is transported, is mature and has a large number of vendors producing management utilities for it. In addition, iSCSI provides SANs with an element of security that has been sorely missing for a long time.
Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar is at email@example.com.