iSCSI SAN v FC SAN Which is best for SMBs?

Data generation in SMBs is accelerating and the need for reliable and highly available storage is in great demand. Directors of small and medium businesses are willing to take tough decisions related to data storage as they need to stay within the allotted budget and meet ever more strict SLAs. At this point of time based on the application needs, many IT managers need a robust SAN solution. At the same time they need advice from a trusted source to figure out which is best for them – an iSCSI SAN or a FC SAN.

So, to make things easier for them here are some facts, which may help in picking the best SAN solution for the needs of the business.

Determine SAN requirement

Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI are two storage protocols used to establish connectivity in between SAN storage and a host.

An IT provider should start to research the SAN requirements of the customer and must carefully enquire about the SLAs. Then the need to enquire about the size and rate of change of the data and what throughput is to be achieved by the host follows. The next is to find out what type of data the SAN solution will be storing whether block or file or both and if it is mission critical production data or just a development type.

Match the requirements to the SAN constraints

When the requirements are clearly understood then the need to match those with the SAN constraints becomes essential.

Cost of equipment- FC equipment is expensive when compared to that of iSCSI where a standard Ethernet network adaptor and IP switch can do the work and can reduce the OpEx.

Management cost- FC SAN’s are naturally higher in cost when compared to iSCSI SANs. The high cost is due to the fact that FC technology needs management software and a skilled professional to utilize it. On the other hand, an iSCSI SAN deployment can be done by using standard networking technology, which can be implemented by the available IT staff, with just familiarity with IP protocols.

Reliability- when it comes to reliability full marks can be given to a FC SAN as it has a proven record in reliability. Vendors offering FC hardware and software ensure that their engineering is robust offering 99% availability. With iSCSI the deployment across standard network technology so the reliability is dependant upon the backbone being first rate. However, with the latest technology

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