The vision of data center fabric convergence depends on the ability of an adapter, switch, and/or storage system to use the same Ethernet physical infrastructure to carry different types of traffic with very different characteristics and handling requirements. For the IT network manager, this equates to installing and operating a single network, while still having the ability to differentiate between traffic types. Network convergence promises to support both storage and network traffic on a single network. One of the primary enablers of fabric convergence is 10 Gigabit Ethernet, a technology with sufficient bandwidth and latency characteristics to support multiple traffic flows on the same link. Network convergence also helps enterprises address storage infrastructure challenges including optimized expenses, improved performance and added efficiencies. • The explosion of data growth across corporations forces IT administrators to deal with complicated and disparate server and storage systems and management, data center space and infrastructure constraints, and new budget pressures associated with environmental factors. • Deploying dissimilar SAN and NAS storage solutions, each with its own platform and management, results in separate network storage infrastructures. Each infrastructure brings the potential for underutilized and captive storage, requiring multiple data recovery solutions, a variety of data management models, and different teams of people.
In addition to lower complexity and costs, and improved efficiencies and utilization, Ethernet‐based storage network convergence enables unification of file and block data, with NFS, CIFS, iSCSI, and the FCoE protocol all running on 10 Gigabit Ethernet and supporting and benefiting from the advances in Ethernet technology.
10GbE iSCSI: The Game Changer for Enterprise‐Grade SANs
The Ethernet attached storage market, which has been growing every year since 2003 and is driven by NAS (NFS, CIFS) and iSCSI deployments, is very well positioned to continue its strong growth versus the relatively declining growth for Fibre Channel‐enabled storage. The driver in the growth of Ethernet‐ attached storage is the emergence of unified storage solutions, with iSCSI and NAS support, and the vast support of the Ethernet ecosystem. According to IDC1, iSCSI has consistently grown faster than the overall networked storage market. • In terms of unit shipments, IDC estimates the iSCSI market grew 40%, from 2008 to 2009 vs. 12% and ‐6% for the NAS and FC markets respectively.
1 IDC Worldwide Storage Tracker, December 2009