NetApp offers a family of unified storage systems with best-in-class storage efficiency, enabling organizations of all sizes to accelerate business processes and reduce overall cost of storing, managing, protecting, and retaining their electronic data. NetApp® unified storage solutions support both file and block protocols natively from the same platform, including NFS, CIFS, FC, FCoE, and iSCSI. iSCSI offers significant value by reducing the cost to acquire and manage storage networks. The many features and benefits of IP SANs with iSCSI include:
iSCSI is flexible enough to run at almost any Ethernet speed. The most popular speeds today are Gigabit and 10Gigabit. This flexibility allows you to standardize on a single network technology while providing price and performance offerings best suited to your application requirements.
One advantage of iSCSI versus other storage network protocols is the use of TCP/IP. While TCP/IP adds a certain amount of overhead, it provides increased flexibility and value in large storage network environments. TCP/IP allows IP routing across long distances without requiring additional gateway hardware—a requirement for iFCP and FCiP.
Leverages existing infrastructure
In addition to being able to support multiple speeds, iSCSI also runs on the same hardware as your existing user network. The ability to leverage a common technology, Ethernet, simplifies network management and reduces costs associated with single-purpose storage networks and the additional skills and training required to maintain them.
Complements existing storage networks
IP SANs with iSCSI also complement existing storage networks by extending the advantages of shared storage to servers that may be stranded on the network without access to the SAN. Since iSCSI uses standard Ethernet, little additional work is required to add stranded servers to a shared storage environment.
As with other networking technologies, iSCSI supports multipathing to improve network resiliency. Two data paths are available at the host and also at the target to provide redundancy in the event of a path failure. Increased bandwidth also is provided by using both data paths. NetApp supports all major operating system MPIO technologies and also offers a DSM for Windows® environments. The NetApp MPIO DSM adds additional functionality and performance and can support concurrent visibility to a LUN via either iSCSI, FC, or FCoE.
Included in the iSCSI specification is a robust set of security features to help prevent unwanted intrusion or wire tapping of networks. These features include Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) and Internet Protocol Security (IPsec).
Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol is a security protocol used to enable iSCSI initiators and targets to prove their identity to each other to ensure each connection is authorized between host and storage.
Internet Protocol Security is a suite of protocols for securing IP traffic by authenticating and encrypting each packet in the data stream.
Though not a direct feature of iSCSI, virtual LANs, or VLANs, offer the ability to logically isolate network traffic from each other on the same physical wire, as if each were on a separate physical LAN. This level of isolation improves security and opportunity to tag traffic for more predictable performance.