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Storage area network (SAN) IP protocol options

Storage area network (SAN) protocols are not only limited to iSCSI and FC – IP storage is another SAN option

Why should VARs and customers consider IP storage instead of iSCSI or Fibre Channel?
The question of which storage interconnect technology is best suited depends entirely on some key factors that need to be identified by the responsible VAR. It is quite possible to have a storage area network operation based solely operate on Fibre Channel (FC), iSCSI or a combination of the two protocols. It all depends on doing the proper homework upfront.

If your client is considering networked storage to run a global mission-critical, line of business application such as a 24x7 enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) with thousands of online users with extremely fast response times along with maximum uptime requirements, you may want to consider recommending a Fibre Channel solution with complete redundancy built-in.

However, if your client requires cost-effective networked storage to run business-critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL, D2D, server consolidation or security surveillance using existing Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure, you can confidently recommend an appropriately configured iSCSI SAN storage platform.

Although, today's modern iSCSI SAN solutions offer high-performance, multi-Gigabit as well as 10 Gigabit Ethernet capabilities that put them at par with their Fibre Channel counterparts.

You also need to drive the message that an IP storage solution based on the iSCSI protocol is reliable, standards-based, cost-effective, simple to understand and manage, and will easily integrate into their existing environment.

Do the proper math during the initial assessment and discovery phases. Make sure you consider the immediate storage capacity, virtualization needs as well as future growth requirements. Only then you can deliver a scalable solution that will meet the customer's requirements.

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