Created by the IETF's IP Storage (IPS) working group, Small Computer System Interface over IP (iSCSI) is a SCSI transport protocol that operates over TCP. Cisco supports both iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) in its Unified Fabric solutions.
Major server vendors offer iSCSI as a connectivity option for enterprise-class applications. iSCSI also provides virtual machines with block-level access to storage volumes without the need to deploy Fibre Channel (FC) hardware.
iSCSI is based on the IP protocol stacks and delegates the recovery of lost packets to TCP. It uses a new management model and enjoys broad industry support from operating system vendors for drivers, gateways (routers, bridges), and native iSCSI storage arrays.
iSCSI is ideal for cost-conscious environments, especially small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers. With iSCSI, the server has to be wired only once for both LAN and SAN, so fewer cables and adapters are required, which reduces costs.
SMBs using iSCSI can choose from a wide variety of standardized hardware from multiple vendors. Because iSCSI is based on familiar technologies such as TCP, training time and expenses are greatly reduced.
iSCSI runs many applications that SMBs need, including more-affordable solutions for small, remote branch offices, where IP connectivity is pervasive.
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