VARs have a big opportunity here in three major areas. The first is they can implement dedicated iSCSI networks. Earlier, we talked about the performance challenges associated with running mixed workloads in the same network. Some customers are interested in deploying small IP networks that are just for storage or iSCSI. VARs have an opportunity to do the equipment sourcing and potentially the implementations for those dedicated networks.
Another area where there are opportunities for VARs is when evaluating software versus hardware. There are a lot of decisions to be made. For example, should you be using standard NIC cards that come with the server, or iSCSI HBAs, which are in essence the TCP offload engine on the board?
VARs can also help customers when selecting vendors for the storage. There is a lot of vendor selection that goes on. Who provides the iSCSI targets?
The most prominent area where customers may not already be using this technology, but this is the good excuse they need, is to help customers understand their IP networks and implement quality-of-service tools. It may mean network switch upgrades, traffic analyzers, knowledge transfer and training on how to look for the traffic and how to spot it and separate it. There would certainly be a lot of value-add opportunities in helping customers implement quality of service so they can run iSCSI and all the other traffic on the same network.
Listen to the iSCSI vs Fibre Channel podcast here.