A guide to iSCSI SAN storage

This ComputerWeekly.com guide gives you the lowdown on iSCSI SAN storage, using iSCSI for virtualisation, boosting iSCSI SAN performance and configuring iSCSI networks and security.

iSCSI storage area networks have been around for more than a decade now. They originally arose as a cut-price alternative for smaller organisations that needed block storage but couldn’t run to the cost and complexity of Fibre Channel.

For some time they were the SME-targeted little brother to market leader Fibre Channel in terms of performance and reliability. But, iSCSI SAN products are now a fully-featured part of most storage array maker’s product ranges and with the speed of 10Gbps Ethernet and careful network design can be the equal of Fibre Channel.

This ComputerWeekly.com guide walks you through the basics of iSCSI SANs, iSCSI SAN implementation, iSCSI and virtualisation and iSCSI networks, switching and security.

Table of contents:

iSCSI SAN fundamentals

iSCSI SAN: Reliable shared storage without Fibre Channel's costs
The iSCSI SAN is a block-level shared-storage alternative to Fibre Channel that is becoming increasingly popular among SME organisations.

iSCSI storage area networks explained
One of the reasons iSCSI SANs are popular for smaller businesses that often have fewer staff members with technical expertise is because they are easy to set up and maintain compared to Fibre Channel SANs. In this article, learn about the features of iSCSI storage area networks.

Fibre Channel SAN drops in buying intention survey; iSCSI SANs make gains
FC SAN loses the title of top overall storage platform choice in our Purchasing Intentions survey, yet it still leads in the server virtualisation space. iSCSI SANs, meanwhile, continue to make gains in market share.

Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI
There are a many misconceptions about Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN technologies. This article clears up some of the most common misconceptions about Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI SANs and also helps you choose which technology is best suited for your environment.

iSCSI SAN implementation

Creating a reliable and fast SAN network design with iSCSI
There are three tenets of designing an iSCSI network correctly. Proper iSCSI deployment yields affordable and reliable network access for the SAN.

iSCSI implementation: How to design, deploy an iSCSI SAN
When approaching an iSCSI implementation, you'll need to carefully consider product selection, network design, TCP/IP offload, security/encryption and management.

iSCSI storage and virtualisation

The iSCSI versus NFS debate: Configuring storage protocols in vSphere
For performance rivaling Fibre Channel, you can bet on iSCSI or NFS. But one protocol has the edge when it comes to ease of configuration in vSphere.

VDI infrastructure and storage platform choices: SAN vs. NAS, Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI
Read up on how SAN and NAS compare in terms of their ability to support a VDI infrastructure, and then drill down for details on Fibre Channel SAN vs. iSCSI SAN.

iSCSI performance

How to increase your iSCSI SAN's performance
Read this tip to learn about how to increase your iSCSI SAN's performance and learn otheriSCSI SAN troubleshooting tips.

10 GbE: iSCSI bandwidth increase improves protocol’s position against FC
With a boost to iSCSI bandwidth with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, products that support the protocol offer features to rival Fibre Channel SANs, including scalability and hypervisor integration.

iSCSI SAN performance remains strong after 10 years
Despite early doubters, iSCSI SAN performance remains strong after 10 years and continues to gain ground on Fibre Channel as a storage protocol iSCSI storage and virtualisation.

iSCSI networks, switching, security

iSCSI switch selection and configuration
iSCSI switch selection means looking out for the type of features that matter to iSCSI SAN traffic. We run the rule over the iSCSI switch market to see what’s available.

iSCSI security: Networking and security options available
iSCSI security options include physical and virtual IP/Ethernet networking methods as well as built-in storage and switch device security features. Read about them here.

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