iStor's iBlade on the Way -

iStor's iBlade on the Way

iStor is gearing up to launch its first product, a scalable iSCSI wire-speed network storage server blade (iBlade) for target-side IP storage. iStor's patent-pending architecture allows storage data transfer at wire speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, enabling it to overcome many of the performance limitations in conventional storage networking products.

The one-year-old startup is seeking to make a name for itself by developing and deploying iSCSI products as part of a complete iSCSI storage networking solution for servers, storage, and networking OEMs. The company aims to leverage what it touts as four core competencies -- designs of massive parallel processing, ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit - definition), storage, and networking -- to manufacture robust, next-generation IP storage products.

In delivering reliable, available, and scalable IP storage products at affordable prices, iStor will make it possible for OEMs to include cutting-edge, value-added storage networking features such as link aggregation, failover, quality of service, and virtualization.

iStor also recently announced that storage industry veteran Kevin C. Daly has been named to its board of directors. Daly was previously chief technical officer of Quantum Corporation's Storage Solutions Group and, prior to that, CEO of ATL Products.

"Up to now, the roadblock to enabling IP storage with iSCSI technology has been the lack of target-side devices," said Daly. "There are plenty of initiator-side devices, but iStor is pioneering target-side devices, which will let IP storage, through iSCSI, evolve to the next level. Other vendors are thinking about it; iStor is actually doing it."

iSCSI Standard Picking Up Steam

The timing for iStor's emergence reflects a study by industry analyst IDC that iSCSI ports will comprise 17% of the total storage networking market by 2005, making the iSCSI standard an emerging interface for storage access in the desktop, server, data center, and distributed environments.

iSCSI is expected to pick up steam largely for its ability to allow for the creation of storage area networks (SANs) using Ethernet infrastructures at a less expensive cost than using traditional Fibre Channel protocols. "With iSCSI, you can implement the semantic equivalent of a Fibre Channel SAN using just Linksys switches for a couple of hundreds of dollars," according to Keith Brown, director of technology and strategy at NetApp.

The inherent advantages of iSCSI running over TCP/IP and Ethernet infrastructures also include higher performance, shorter time to market, improved management, higher interoperability, smoother migration, and essentially unlimited distance. Several leading technology companies -- including Microsoft, NetApp and Adaptec, HP, IBM, Cisco Systems, and Intel -- are already supporting iSCSI initiatives.

A specific release date has not yet been announced for iStor's iBlade.

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