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Virtualization and iSCSI: Match made in heaven?

iSCSI and virtualization are compatible, but are they perfect for one another? James Geis offers his opinion in this expert response.

In the second half of this interview on virtualization, iSCSI and blade servers, a Virtual Iron rep says that iSCSI and virtualization are a great match, because iSCSI technology allows for quick integration of production and development servers. Do you agree? Can you suggest some ways to use iSCSI in our data center, in which we have consolidated a couple of dozen servers down to six servers running VMware Server-based virtual machines?

I mostly agree with that statement. The caveat is: make sure that your network is capable of handling that type of increased workload/throughput. From my perspective, the biggest inhibitors of successful iSCSI implementations are the network bandwidth between the storage and the host, and the host operating system's ability to address the storage via built in drivers or a TOE (TCP Offload Engine). The other factor to consider is distance. The scenario you describe is intra-datacenter, where, if you have a dedicated network between the storage and the hosts, you're good to go. But if you toss distance in the mix, you will have some latency issues.

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