IBM Bids Adieu to a Piece of Storage History

IBM will officially say good-bye today to the IBM TotalStorage IP Storage
200i, the first commercially available iSCSI product.

The 200i was introduced in mid-2001, almost two years before the IP storage
standard was officially adopted. It was, as they say, ahead of its

“This was an early pass at iSCSI technology, done at a time when most
companies didn’t even know what the concept was,” says Mike Karp, senior
analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. “As such, it was, in a sense, a
pilot project.”

“This product introduced and conditioned IT professionals to the concept that iSCSI
will be a new interface at the target device level,” states Tony Prigmore, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. “IBM, being IBM, has the ability to roll products like the 200i into the market for educational purposes.”

Now that iSCSI’s time has come, both IBM and the rest of the industry must

“Since mid-2001, iSCSI has come a long way, and there are lots of new
players in the game,” reports Karp. “Also, iSCSI has changed a bit since then,
and we have a new specification, which all the new devices must answer to.
EMA sees the technology increasingly appearing in corporate IT shops,
particularly where firms are looking to implement SANs ‘on the cheap.'”

The official withdrawal of
the 200i won’t mark the end of IBM’s IP storage initiatives. Far from it,
Big Blue says.

“IBM continues to invest in iSCSI and plans to introduce the protocol more
widely in the coming years,” the company said in a statement. “Also, IBM is
taking an end-to-end approach across servers, storage, and networking,
starting with environments that will benefit our customers the most.”

Just last month, IBM became the first vendor to offer the Cisco MDS 9000 IP
Storage Services Module, which supports both iSCSI and Fibre Channel over
IP. The module makes Fibre Channel SANs available to additional servers and
applications within data centers and departments across local, metro, and
wide area distances.

“iSCSI has evolved since the launch of the 200i and now has the potential to
perform at greater speeds and be managed more efficiently,” Prigmore said. “We expect IBM to stay in the iSCSI market and incorporate these features in future products.
The iSCSI market will evolve to be one of the natural replacements to direct-attached storage and will be coveted by most vendors over the next 12 months. Most direct attached infrastructures will have to migrate to some form of networked storage. It’s just a matter of time.”

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