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Microsoft recently announced that it would provide support for the iSCSI standard in Windows client and server environments by next month. A spokesperson for the software giant said that the announcement signals the company's continued focus on making Windows a stronger platform for storage. But the lingering question concerning iSCSI still exists: Is it just a pipe dream at this point, or has iSCSI finally arrived into the world of mainstream technology?
In 2002, SNIA predicted that by the end of 2003, almost every operating system would have support for iSCSI, and with the recent announcement from Microsoft, its prediction may very well come true. "Microsoft's support for iSCSI is a great endorsement for the importance and value of iSCSI to customers," says Eric Schott, director, product management at EqualLogic. According to Jon Greene, director of product management at FlaconStor Software, Inc., the interest and momentum for IP-based storage has been growing for years. "Microsoft's endorsement and embedded support provide critical distribution and exposure that will accelerate the process," he says.
So, is the future of iSCSI finally here? According to Nitesh Gulhati, product manager at Intel, iSCSI has moved from being a "work-in-progress" to a ratified standard in an impressive amount of time. "This growth, along with the need for centralized data storage by small and medium-sized businesses, will help facilitate the mainstream adoption of iSCSI, says Gulhati. Greene agrees. "The ratification of an iSCSI standard and the Windows 2003 operating system are watershed events that will provide the impetus necessary to launch iSCSI into the mainstream," he says.