November 25, 2005 #8212Although a number of recent end-user surveys indicate steady, albeit slow, adoption of iSCSI-based IP SANs, there have been few iSCSI-related product introductions from the larger vendors over the last couple months. Not to worry: A number of smaller vendors are keeping the ball rolling with introductions ranging from chips and accelerators for OEMs and integrators to ready-to-run IP SANs for end users.

Here’s a sampling of recent and upcoming iSCSI-related product announcements (in alphabetical order by vendor):

In January, Chelsio Communications is expected to begin production shipments of quad-port Gigabit Ethernet adapters—model T204-ET&#8212for PCI-Express Linux systems that include TCP and iSCSI offload engines (accelerators). The company claims target mode performance of up to 400,000 I/Os per second. The adapters are priced at $1,495.

Chelsio achieved 400,000 I/Os per second in a link-aggregated configuration in an iSCSI target mode server with dual 2.4GHz Opteron processors running Linux, Chelsio’s iSCSI target stack, and a RAM disk. The target mode server was connected to 16 Windows 2003 servers running Microsoft’s iSCSI initiators. Intel’s Iometer benchmark tool was used to measure 512-byte initiator reads and writes. Chelsio claims unidirectional bandwidth of up to 3.9Gbps with less than 20% CPU utilization using standard 1,500-byte Ethernet frames in the test configuration.

The T204-ET joins Chelsio’s adapter line, which also includes the T204-BT quad-port Gigabit Ethernet PCI-X bus adapter; T210 10Gbps Ethernet adapter; and the Terminator ASIC.

Paralan’s iS500 family of iSCSI bridges provide iSCSI-to-SCSI connectivity, allowing users to link parallel SCSI devices to IP SANs and merge direct-attached storage (DAS) into iSCSI storage networks.

Available in box, rack-mount, or board versions, the iS500 bridges feature automatic detection of all parallel SCSI devices connected to the 68-pin SCSI interface and are available with Ultra160 LVD or HVD SCSI interfaces. Paralan claims wire-speed performance via 32-bit, 833MHz processors. Quantity pricing is $995 per unit.

Qsan Technology has added a “Snapshot-on-the-box” feature with support for Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to its line of iSCSI (P series) and Ultra320 SCSI (S series) storage controllers. Snapshot-on-the-box software provides point-in-time volume replication, with up to 32 snapshots. (“On-the-box” refers to the fact that the solution does not require proprietary agents installed on hosts.)

Qsan’s P series IntelliRAID iSCSI RAID controllers are powered by Silverback Systems’ iSNAP2110 acceleration engines. The P series is an 8- or 16-channel SATA II RAID controller.

Reldata’s IP Storage Gateway 9200 is a storage management appliance for IP SANs that includes features such as resource consolidation and virtualization, unified block-level (iSCSI) and file-level (NAS) storage provisioning, and data replication. The diskless appliance can be used to consolidate Fibre Channel, SCSI, or iSCSI disk arrays and tape libraries and can be used to extend Fibre Channel SANs to IP SAN/NAS storage networks. Storage volumes can be provided as iSCSI SAN targets and NAS file systems (CIFS and NFS) to IP-connected hosts (Windows, Unix, Linux). Other features include snapshots and IPSec-encrypted replication and mirroring, and NDMP-enabled backup. The appliance is priced at about $22,000, including all software.

Reldata is expected to add support for 10Gbps Ethernet in the first quarter of 2006.

Earlier this month, Sanrad began shipments of its Total iSCSI SAN-V-Switch, which enables users to integrate any IETF-compliant iSCSI disk array into an iSCSI SAN pool of heterogeneous devices. Storage services include virtualization, local and remote replication, mirroring, and snapshots. The company’s iSCSI switches also support Fibre Channel and SCSI devices.

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