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Issue of April 2003 
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More storage drafts yet to come

While the storage industry's iSCSI and Fiber Channel over IP (FCIP) protocols finally reached standardization, additional drafts may be needed to clarify WAN connectivity.

This was told by leaders of the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF's) IP Storage Working Group. The possible upcoming work has no effect on the iSCSI commercial products debuting now, and its sister specifications. But if the draft is passed, it could help with future management software.

David Black, Senior Technologist at EMC, and co-chairman of the working group felt that additional drafts may be forthcoming on issues involved in gateways and bridges between iSCSI and other SCSI protocols. There has been work in this area, but the draft has not been submitted.

Also being considered, according to Black's e-mail, are new drafts defining Management Information Bases (MIBs). These will be used for extended Fiber Channel management and for Internet Storage Name Service extensions to FCIP.

Mark Bakke, of Cisco's Storage Router Business Unit said, "Some people got together to work on gateways and bridges and wanted to see if they could come up with some standard ways to map between Fiber Channel devices and iSCSI. Bridges have their own ways of mapping, and those are intellectual property. The nature of a bridge or gateway, and how it maps things, is really driven more by what customers do with them. Trying to standardize those things too early probably would not be really helpful."

Replacing traditional storage networking with the Internet Protocol (IP) is expected to result in easier administration and configuration for users, but is also the subject of potential performance and security concerns.

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