iSCSI is an acronym that stands for “Internet Small Computer System Interface.” This type of technology is designed to work in tandem with a TCP layer and creates the ability for traditional SCSI commands to be sent over everything from a LAN (local area network) to a WAN (wide area network) to even the Internet itself. Even though iSCSI as a concept has been around for almost ten years, it has only really gained traction in enterprise environments during the last few. As a result, there are still a few misconceptions about iSCSI storage that need to be cleared up before any type of widespread adoption can be expected.
iSCSI and NAS
One of the biggest misconceptions about iSCSI storage is that it is completely incompatible with traditional NAS systems. In reality, there are many different types of iSCSI storage systems that include native support for NAS – they’re called unified storage systems. There are also NAS systems that include native support for iSCSI, allowing both types of technology to completely work together in a cost effective way.
Another misconception has to do with people who think that iSCSI storage cannot be partitioned in the way necessary to create a RAID deployment. The truth of the matter is that the technology itself does not limit this type of action in any way. Both the iSCSI protocol and the associated specifications completely allow partitioning these types of solutions. Whether or not a particular iSCSI can be partitioned as a redundant array of inexpensive disks, however, is something that each vendor will determine individually.
iSCSI Storage Disks
Perhaps the biggest misconception about iSCSI is the way the technology operates at all. Many people are still unsure whether iSCSI storage is an individual drive, or if it’s a type of network attached storage solution. The reality is something of a combination of these two scenarios. While there is no such thing as an iSCSI disk in the traditional sense of the term, any drive that is connected to an iSCSI storage system will appear on attached computers as an iSCSI disk.
When implementing iSCSI storage in your environment, you need to keep a few key things in mind. For starters, you’ll need to grade each product on factors like scalability, cost and the ability to perform functions that your specific business needs (like replication) before picking any particular one. You’ll also need to decide whether you’re creating a separate network for iSCSI or a dedicated network, which is a decision that will largely come down to your own performance requirements.