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Benefits of iSCSI Technology

What is iSCSI Protocol?

SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) has been a standard client-server protocol for decades it is used to enable computers to communicate with storage devices. As system interconnects move from the classical bus structure to a network structure, SCSI has to be mapped to network transport protocols. Today's IP Gigabit networks meet the performance requirements of to seamlessly transport SCSI commands between application servers to centralized storage.
The iSCSI protocol enables the transfer of SCSI packets over a TCP/IP (Ethernet) network. iSCSI is an interoperable solution which enables the use of existing TCP/IP infrastructure and addresses distance limitations (iSCSI can also be used over the Internet). This means the disk drives in your SAN are presented over your existing Ethernet network to server applications as though the disks are local to your physical server hardware.

Benefits of iSCSI

The iSCSI protocol provides numerous benefits for SANs compared to using Fiber Channel, a few key points are summarized below:
  • iSCSI uses familiar networking standards: Ethernet and TCP/IP. Most IT administrators are already familiar with TCP/IP, unlike the more complex skills required for FC storage.
  • Total storage costs are reduced: iSCSI SANs are easier to install and maintain than FC, lowering installation and maintenance expenses. iSCSI reduces the necessity of hiring or outsourcing storage administration.
  • Replication works over a standard IP network: iSCSI replication eliminates distance limitations and costs associated with FC routers.
  • Reduces complexity by eliminating Fibre Channel switches and cabling: Using standard Ethernet switches simplifies everything as most organizations already have in house IP networking skills.
  • iSCSI scales to 10 Gigabit: For enterprise applications that require high transactional performance 10GigE is available, thus expanding iSCSI Storage Networks performance to equal the performance of Metro and Wide Area Networks.
  • iSCSI is the most cost effective storage solution for SMBs: iSCSI offers simplified management and integration based on existing infrastructure and eliminates the need to buy expensive equipment.
  • Works over longs distance: iSCSI solves the issues of distance and bandwidth. The use of IP Networking means long distance is no longer an issue for replicating to remote sites.
  • Industry Standard: iSCSI standard has been supported by Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Intel, and many others with the ratified standards by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Microsoft iSCSI Initiator

The Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator enables connection of a host computer to an external iSCSI storage through Ethernet NICs. It is included in Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 installations by default.
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