IBM Bids Adieu to a Piece of Storage History

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IBM will officially say good-bye today to the IBM TotalStorage IP Storage 200i, the first commercially available iSCSI product.

The 200i was introduced in mid-2001, almost two years before the IP storage standard was officially adopted. It was, as they say, ahead of its time.

“This was an early pass at iSCSI technology, done at a time when most companies didn’t even know what the concept was,” says Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. “As such, it was, in a sense, a pilot project.”

“This product introduced and conditioned IT professionals to the concept that iSCSI will be a new interface at the target device level,” states Tony Prigmore, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. “IBM, being IBM, has the ability to roll products like the 200i into the market for educational purposes.”

Now that iSCSI’s time has come, both IBM and the rest of the industry must adapt.

“Since mid-2001, iSCSI has come a long way, and there are lots of new players in the game,” reports Karp. “Also, iSCSI has changed a bit since then, and we have a new specification, which all the new devices must answer to. EMA sees the technology increasingly appearing in corporate IT shops, particularly where firms are looking to implement SANs ‘on the cheap.'”

The official withdrawal of the 200i won’t mark the end of IBM’s IP storage initiatives. Far from it, Big Blue says.

“IBM continues to invest in iSCSI and plans to introduce the protocol more widely in the coming years,” the company said in a statement. “Also, IBM is taking an end-to-end approach across servers, storage, and networking, starting with environments that will benefit our customers the most.”

Just last month, IBM became the first vendor to offer the Cisco MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module, which supports both iSCSI and Fibre Channel over IP. The module makes Fibre Channel SANs available to additional servers and applications within data centers and departments across local, metro, and wide area distances.

“iSCSI has evolved since the launch of the 200i and now has the potential to perform at greater speeds and be managed more efficiently,” Prigmore said. “We expect IBM to stay in the iSCSI market and incorporate these features in future products. The iSCSI market will evolve to be one of the natural replacements to direct-attached storage and will be coveted by most vendors over the next 12 months. Most direct attached infrastructures will have to migrate to some form of networked storage. It’s just a matter of time.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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