iSCSI vs. Fibre Channel SANs

There has always been a big discussion on these two storage technologies, Fibre Channel and iSCSI. There is really no straight answer to which one suits you, but here are some quick facts that can help in deciding what to invest in.

Whilst Fibre Channel does provide the low latency and perhaps the higher availability of the two, it is usually more expensive, complex and harder to manage due to it requiring an additional Fibre Channel network infrastructure.

iSCSI on the other hand is a lot easier to implement and to manage. iSCSI will work on your existing IP network and with the prices of 10GB networks dropping, the performance on iSCSI is on par (if not faster) than Fibre Channel.

With the introduction of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), users can transit Fibre Channel data frames over 10GB or faster Ethernet infrastructure allowing both Fibre Channel and iSCSI SANs to be consolidated into one Ethernet traffic.

Both Fibre Channel and iSCSI technologies have a place in a data centre or your server room.

My thoughts on this is that most business need both Fibre Channel and iSCSI technologies, however the cost and complexity of Fibre Channel SANs would perhaps give iSCSI the edge in the future in costing less and allowing you to use your existing infrastructure without having to invest both time and money in a fibre channel network infrastructure.