Is SAN schism coming?
Samsung dips its iSCSI drive array toe into Korean waters
By Chris Mellor | Published: 13:00, 10 October 2005
Samsung, the Korean semi-conductors-to-TV-and-more giant is producing iSCSI storage servers. They are only for the Korean marketplace and represent a Samsung server pre-loaded with DataCore's SANmelody software. So these are aimed at the SME market, SANsymphony being needed for enterprises. You get a Samsung ZSS-100 system with 1TB of SATA drives. We have a Samsung IP SAN-in-a-can.
It can do network backups, synchronous and async mirroring and replication. Samsung says it can be set up in minutes.
Existing iSCSI SAN suppliers such as EqualLogic, Intransa and Left-Hand Networks, now face the possibility of Samsung building a base in Korea and refining its product and then coming out into the wider Asia-Pacific market and, ultimately, the western market. Refinements could include enterprise versions using SANsymphony.
Samsung must have some research findings predicting significant growth in the iSCSI markets. Not having a line of Fibre Channel SAN storage to protect, it doesn't have any legacy SAN baggage to hinder whatever it wants to do.
Obviously sticking a NAS head function on this is merely going to involve adding additional software capability to its box.
It makes you wonder what is going to prevent any and every NAS vendor putting an IP SAN behind their existing NAS box. They already have the server capability and the Ethernet links. What a nice opportunity to try and break out of NAS commodity hell.
Indeed, it gets better. Combining Fibre Channel SAN and file-serving NAS just won't appeal to SMEs. They won't buy FC NAS; Ehernet NAS rules OK!
My thinking is also that iSCSI and FC SAN management just don't mix. No combined management product is on the radar. So FC SAN users won't buy iSCSI SANs.
But equally, SMEs that embrace iSCSI SANs won't buy Fibre Channel. Their IP SANs will rapidly become an obstacle to that. And if they can get NAS and SAN functions out of the same boxes and Ethernet gives them the bandwidth they need then why should they bother with Fibre Channel at all? For SMEs FC represents 'Fat Chance!'
We are facing a looming SAN schism. It will create difficulties with all-in storage vendors who will be tempted to add an IP Storage product line and then find they have to have two SAN management products, two SAN virtualisation products, and two sets of layered-on storage management product stacks.