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LeftHand takes iSCSI to 10Gig

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LeftHand Networks has IP-based SANs running over 10Gig Ethernet and is touting these as proof that iSCSI is finally ready for large enterprises to use.

According to LeftHand, the 10Gig generation will be where Fibre Channel finally loses its lead over iSCSI in areas such as performance and disaster recovery support. The company said it will demonstrate a 10Gig Ethernet SAN at the SNW (Storage Networking World) conference in San Diego next week.

LeftHand's SAN/iQ software can turn a mixed set of file servers into clustered SAN storage. It claims support from Microsoft and from networking partners such as Force10, HP ProCurve, and NIC vendors Neterion and NetXen, all of them eager to use iSCSI to accelerate the sales of 10Gig networks.

While iSCSI SANs have had some success with SMBs, many large enterprises don't trust Ethernet to provide the same reliability and performance as Fibre Channel. Instead, they have seen iSCSI mainly as a way to extend the reach of their core Fibre Channel SAN.

So is there anyone who needs a high speed SAN and doesn't already have FC? Enterprise Strategy Group analyst - and iSCSI believer - Tony Asaro thinks so. He said that in an ESG study 26 per cent of potential iSCSI users demanded 10Gig support as a condition of buying.

"We've found that iSCSI performs as well as FC in head-to-head testing when comparing 1Gig Ethernet and 2Gig Fibre Channel.

"However, no matter how loud the industry beats the drum that iSCSI performs just as well as Fibre Channel, people are still confused. 10Gig Ethernet support for iSCSI takes any performance concerns off the table." ®

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