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Saving money with iSCSI SAN storage

How can iSCSI save VARs and their customers money?

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We have all heard that iSCSI storage systems are cheap. You are selling it short if you think that cost is its only merit. While price isn't the only reason to buy iSCSI; it does promise to save money. It will do so in two ways:
  1. Reduced connectivity costs. Leveraging existing IP infrastructure and commodity NICs will definitely reduce costs as compared to Fibre Channel storage area networds. Fibre Channel HBAs still hover around $1k each, and SAN port costs are about the same. Don't forget nearly $250 per FC cable and you're up to $2,250 per node on the SAN. If your $1,500 blade server is dual connected to the SAN, you just spent 3x what the server was worth on connectivity. Compare that to almost free via iSCSI and you have a bargain.
  2. Reduced manpower costs. Everybody has an existing network infrastructure. As a result, everybody has a network administrator. Don't expect the network admin to belly up the FC SAN and work wonders overnight. It takes special training and experience to make a iSCSI SAN storage system sing.

This was first published in January 2007

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