What you should know about iSCSI initiators

Learn about hardware and software iSCSI initiators and when you should choose each.

What you will learn: Learn about hardware and software iSCSI initiators and when you should choose each.

ISCSI continues to grow in popularity spurred by low cost and the ubiquity of Ethernet. These factors have made iSCSI very popular in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market. However, these days we are seeing more and more large enterprises deploying iSCSI storage area networks (SAN).

ISCSI SANs are made up of three parts: a network, a target and an initiator. The network is Ethernet, preferably Gigabit Ethernet. The target is the storage destination. These days, that typically means a storage array. The iSCSI initiator can be hardware or software, with software being a much more popular approach; hardware initiators are available in the form of controller cards.

This podcast offers a detailed explanation of both hardware and software iSCSI initiators and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Who are the vendors in the iSCSI initiator game?
  • What are the interoperability concerns?
  • What service packs and software upgrades will you need to consider?
  • What are the security concerns, and how do you address them?
  • What is Microsoft SNP, and what are its benefits and drawbacks?
  • Listen to "What you should know about iSCSI initiators".

    About the author: Greg Schulz is founder and senior analyst with the IT infrastructure analyst and consulting firm StorageIO Group. Greg is also the author and illustrator of Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and has contributed material to "Storage" magazine and other TechTarget venues.

    This was first published in August 2007

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