iSCSI, FCIP, iFCP ... and iFUD?


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In the early days of IP storage protocol development (all of three years ago), vested vendor interests spawned a protracted war between proponents of alternate IP-based solutions. Waged in the trade press, industry associations, and other venues, the contention between early variants of iSCSI, FCIP, iFCP, and other proposals sometimes generated a religious fervor, bordering on jihad. As further fuel to this raging fire, the hardcore Fibre Channel advocates opposed all attempts to develop storage over IP solutions, regardless of the sectarian disputes between the IP supporters.

After intense polemical skirmishes, the IP advocates finally agreed to work together in the IP Storage Forum of the SNIA (which at one point nearly became the iSCSI Storage Forum). As it turned out, the differences between the separate IP storage initiatives were substantial in terms of functionality, but certainly not worthy of divisions between technologists. Today, the SNIA has proven to be a productive common ground in helping to cultivate the value of IP-based storage solutions as a complement to mainstream Fibre Channel SANs. iSCSI, iFCP, and FCIP have all demonstrated their particular strengths, as validated by the confirmation of all three protocols by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Lately, however, the civil relations within the storage industry among IP-based solutions have been challenged by aggressive marketing from a new entrant into the storage space. Not to name names, mind you, but a large internetworking company is attempting to mark its territory by dropping disparaging remarks about competing solutions at every opportunity. We’ll just refer to this vendor as Vendor X.

While it is common practice in any industry to bend the truth for the sake of competitive interests, breaking the truth outright requires a special disregard for both the industry and the customers it serves. All of which is to say the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that was a common marketing tactic in former times of single vendor domination has unfortunately returned.

Page 2: iFUD #1: Join the Winning Team!

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