iSCSI Makes It

Opinion: iSCSI finally sees its day as a true rival to Fibre Channel.

In the news business, its cool when an emerging technology youve covered for years finally "makes it." Storage over IP and the iSCSI specification were just in their infancy back in 2001, but as eWEEK reported in May of that year, vendors were already planning products and looking to the day when iSCSI caught up to its big brother, Fibre Channel: "In three to five years, experts say, storage-over-IP networks based on the proposed iSCSI specification will push out Fibre Channel."

That day is here and right on schedule, eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar found out in his head-to-head tests of iSCSI versus Fibre Channel storage interconnects. Fibre Channel traditionally has been much faster than iSCSI but, at the same time, much more costly and requiring dedicated hardware, switches and pipes. iSCSI needs only off-the-shelf hardware and an Ethernet connection and finally has shed the performance monkey from its back, thanks to better and more widespread support of the technology. In his tests, Baltazar found any speed differences "negligible."

This maturity is what led medical device manufacturer FoxHollow Technologies to embrace iSCSI, which eWEEK Labs Senior Writer Anne Chen chronicles. "We had some initial apprehension regarding iSCSI performance," said Tom Miller, FoxHollows director of IT. "But we felt that iSCSI had come of age for mission-critical applications."

Also coming of age is the next generation of enterprise applications, or, as some have coined it, Web 2.0—or the "programmable Web." eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft writes that the convergence of AJAX, XML and SOA is not only changing the way apps are developed but also the role of the developer.

As Web services evangelist Jeff Barr puts it, "The corporate software architect of the future may have a function more akin to a plumber or bricklayer than to a developer." Barr is not demeaning developers. Rather, he is saying that component-based development using AJAX, XML and SOA will enable developers to do more, faster and better than ever before. Thats a fair trade-off, I think.

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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...