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Issue of March 2003 
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iSCSI is finally an industry standard

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has finally approved iSCSI as a standard. With iSCSI enterprises can build SANs using their existing Ethernet networks since both are IP-based technologies. Until now organizations that needed SANs had to opt for separate Fiber Channel networks, and that meant additional costs.

A number of iSCSI products appeared in the market while the industry was waiting for iSCSI to be ratified. These were based on draft specifications. We can expect many new iSCSI products from startups and established companies in the months ahead.

Some of these products are storage arrays, adapters, TCP acceleration chips, and software for IP storage. Vendors are also expected to provide drivers and make their products compatible with iSCSI.

Vendors like Cisco, IBM, EMC and Netapp have been strong backers of this standard. In 2000, Cisco and IBM first submitted the basic framework for this block level IP storage protocol to IETF.

Analysts say that large enterprises moving away from direct attached storage are expected to stick with Fiber Channel. However, SMEs will opt for more affordable iSCSI technology.

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