iSCSI SAN best practices for small businesses

New to the world of iSCSI SAN storage or buying your first iSCSI SAN? Learn iSCSI SAN best practices in this guide for small businesses.

iSCSI storage area networks (SANs) are becoming increasingly popular in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). According to Storage magazine's October 2010 Purchasing Intentions survey, 44% of survey respondents either deployed or plan to deploy an iSCSI system this year -- the highest number so far. Much of iSCSI's growth appears to be coming from medium-sized businesses; 52% of those surveyed are installing iSCSI this year, a six point jump from a year ago. But larger organizations are also increasingly opting for iSCSI; 39% have deployed iSCSI or plan to -- a four-point increase vs. last fall. While attracting larger businesses, iSCSI SAN storage has maintained its solid presence in small companies, with 42% taking the iSCSI route this year.

But whether or not to purchase an iSCSI SAN isn't an easy decision. And once you have your SAN up and running, you still may have questions and run into problems. In this guide on iSCSI SAN best practices, we've collected all of our best tips and expert advice on iSCSI SAN storage systems. Whether you're buying your first iSCSI SAN or are learning maintain your iSCSI SAN, and get the best iSCSI SAN performance, we have the answers for you here.

iSCSI SAN BEST PRACTICES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

 Incorporating an iSCSI storage system into your Ethernet network

The rapid growth of iSCSI SANs and storage systems have placed an enormous strain on Ethernet network administrators, many of whom have little to no SAN storage knowledge or experience. Many Ethernet network admins treat an iSCSI SAN the same way they treat a standard TCP/IP LAN. At first glance, this seems reasonable because iSCSI is SCSI mapped to TCP/IP. Therefore, iSCSI should behave like any TCP/IP packet, right? The short answer is no. Treating an iSCSI storage system like a standard LAN is a recipe for disaster. In this article, here's what you need to know before incorporating an iSCSI storage into your existing Ethernet network.

iSCSI storage area networks explained

One of the reasons why iSCSI SANs are popular for smaller businesses that often have fewer staff members with technical expertise is because they are somewhat easy to set up and maintain vs. a Fibre Channel SAN. In an iSCSI SAN, there are three primary iSCSI SAN hardware components. These include iSCSI storage NICs (dedicated network interface cards for iSCSI communications) or initiators; standard Ethernet network switches; and target storage NICs or targets on the external storage arrays. In this article, learn about the features of iSCSI storage area networks.

Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI

There are a many misconceptions about Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN technologies. Several are perpetuated by the vested interest of specific storage vendors. Some of these SAN technology misconceptions have a grain of truth but are tainted by the past, not the present. Other misconceptions are correct on a technical basis but have no relevance in the real world. This article clears up some of the most common misconceptions about Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI SANs and also helps you choose which technology is best suited for your environment.

Solve iSCSI SAN performance problems

iSCSI SANs are generally easier to set up and keep running than their Fibre Channel counterparts. However, that doesn't mean they're completely trouble-free. If you're having iSCSI SAN performance problems, learn about the first places to look in this tip. There are several things you can do to boost the performance of your iSCSI storage system, ranging from checking your log files to changing a few settings on your network. In this article, learn how to help your iSCSI SAN's performance.

Free iSCSI storage guide

In this free guide on iSCSI from SearchStorage, learn about implementing an iSCSI SAN and VMware, read some iSCSI SAN case studies, and learn whether or not iSCSI SANs are as secure as Fibre Channel SANs and other iSCSI SAN best practices. Click here to download the free iSCSI guide.

EDITOR's TIP: To help you stay up to date on the latest iSCSI SAN best practices, bookmark out special section on small business SANs for the latest news, tips and expert advice.

 

This was first published in November 2010

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