Commission makes educated switch

The Tertiary Education Commission aims to have storage-area network operating early next year

The Tertiary Education Commission is the latest of several government organisations to make the switch from internal and direct-attached storage to the networked variety.

The commission has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a storage-area network and aims to have it operating by the end of January.

The RFP specifications state that the SAN must initially be 2TB and scalable up to 15TB.

The commission seeks an iSCSI SAN, indicating a preference for the emerging IP-based iSCSI storage standard over the more established (but more expensive) Fibre Channel SAN technology.

In opting for iSCSI, it is mirroring the Civil Aviation Authority, which installed an iSCSI-based EMC SAN last year.

However, other government departments seeking SANs have been more cautious about iSCSI.

For example, the Ministry of Fisheries issued an RFP in August, calling for a Fibre Channel SAN, which noted: “We are aware that considerable work has been going on around using SCSI over IP, but we believe that this architecture still has considerable overheads.”

The move towards mainstream iSCSI adoption has been assisted by Microsoft’s release, in 2003, of its iSCSI initiator software for Windows Server 2003. The software enables Windows environments to utilise iSCSI.

The Tertiary Education Commission RFP specifies Windows 2003 Server iSCSI software and hardware “initiators” as part of the proposed SAN set-up.

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