Despite the ongoing debate on using iSCSI SAN over Fibre Channel (FC) SAN and iSCSI technology performance issues, the cost and implementation factors make it a viable choice for virtualized environments. During his session at the Gartner Summit 2010 held in Mumbai, Aman Munglani, the principal analyst at Gartner mentioned that iSCSI technology accounts for 25% to 30% of the share in the Indian storage market, boosted by significant push from many vendors.
According to Munglani, the claim that iSCSI technology is not as resilient as FC is a thing of the past. When iSCSI technology was introduced, there were questions about its longevity in the Indian market, which has traditionally been pro-FC. iSCSI technology is plagued with perception issues, and it is important for the chief information officers to take informed decisions about its future.
iSCSI technology performance can be enhanced by clubbing it with different storage technologies that will also help increase utilization level and reduce overall cost. Storage networks are an important consideration for iSCSI technology and have undergone a major change over the last few years. The next 12 to 18 months will witness a lot of innovations in storage technology. For instance, FC has a 4 gigabyte per second (Gbps) port and the next phase of development will be 8 Gbps. Majority of the traction right now lies with the 10 GbE, which is being touted as one of the technologies that will substantially lower storage costs. Another buzzword in the market is FC over Ethernet (FCoE). However, Munglani is quick to add that FCoE will die a natural death due to the associated cost factors.
On the infrastructure side, the performance of iSCSI technology can be boosted through various technologies like thin-provisioning, automated storage tiering, dedupe, and solid state drive incorporation—measures that will help also reduce the overall cost of storage. These technologies delay the procurement of additional infrastructure, as the utilization rate increases. In a typical direct attached storage environment, the utilization is 10% to 40%. Most Indian organizations utilize 10% to 20%, while on a SAN environment, the utilization rate is 40% to 50%. With the aid of these storage technologies, the utilization can go up to 70%.