No warm fuzzies for iSCSI?

Lately, it seems like it's all about disk space. They're no longer file servers but document repositories with multiple versions of single documents saved ad infinitum -- just in case of a finger-pointing fest. Not so much the trouble with Word files, but your average PowerPoint file is now over 20MB, easy. Five or six versions of each of those multiplied by dozens of sales people and hundreds of target customers, and suddenly, you're talking real space. To say nothing of photo albums, corporate podcast libraries, online training videos, and gigabytes and gigabytes of e-mail. Hell, my home-movie collection just topped 150GB.

For the home-movie mogul, it's about space and little else. For the business user, however, it's also about access speed, reliability, and manageability. That's where iSCSI was supposed to make serious inroads into more than just your dedicated database server or SAN box. But after looking for those jobs for a year, I'm just not seeing it.

And not for lack of support on the software side, either. Microsoft's Windows Storage Server (WSS) 2003 R2 is probably the most popular business-class NAS operating system from a commercial OEM perspective -- which is weird because you'd think a free Linux distro would do well here -- but I digress. And while Microsoft could easily have ignored the iSCSI platform from a small and medium-sized biz usage perspective, it didn't.

It's called Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003, but it might as well be called WSS for iSCSI. Before the Microsoftees send some big Northwestern lumberjack to pound me, however, I'll quickly point out that iSCSI support isn't the only different in the WUDSS package. There's (supposedly) a friendlier NAS setup routine and better back-end management support. But by and large, the big diff here is that WUDSS does iSCSI while WSS doesn't. Microsoft also makes it very clear that WUDSS is aimed specifically at the SMB space, even more so than WSS since WUDSS has the friendlier (i.e. easy enough for small-biz customers) setup and management interface.

And yet, so far, there's little take-up of WUDSS by small business storage hardware vendors. Microsoft points to an HP's ProLiant DL585 G2 storage server as a prime WUDSS candidate, but that's hardly your average small business box. Talking to Iomega about its new high-end (for Iomega) 450r NAS box earlier this week, I was told flat out by Chris Romoser, Iomega's senior director of worldwide communications, that the company had no plans to use WUDSS simply because its customers weren't asking for it. And Iomega is an unabashed and highly enthusiastic small-business-oriented company.

Overall, I can see why smaller businesses simply haven't hopped onto the iSCSI bandwagon. It's a high-performance technology that simply won't be stressed enough in most SMB scenarios such that users might actually see a difference -- even for traditionally disk-intensive applications like database serving. Give virtualization a little time to spread into the SMB segment, however, and we may see that change.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Oliver Rist

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?