There is interesting iSCSI debate brewing between Chuck Hollis of EMC and Dave Hitz of NetApp.
I got my first taste of iSCSI when I laid my hands on newly released Cisco 5420 iSCSI router. The iSCSI standard was barely at draft 0.8.
Initially, I was excited about iSCSI and even got involved in SNIA iSCSI and IP Storage initiatives. But the way iSCSI was being positioned in the market, it didn’t take long to realize that iSCSI will play second-fiddle to Fibre Channel (FC) for a very long time.
T/M/C vs. Company
Dave compares first four years of iSCSI revenue with that of NetApp to convey that it feels like the “Year of iSCSI.”
In my opinion, Dave is thinking about it wrong because he is comparing oranges to apple. iSCSI is a technology/market/category (T/M/C) and NetApp is a company. A comparison between them makes no sense.
First four years of iSCSI revenue are divvied up between several iSCSI vendors with no single vendor dominating the iSCSI category. In contrast, most NAS revenue, not all, went to one company, NetApp. In sixth year of NAS, NetApp was equated to NAS. Can you tell me which company is equated to iSCSI in its sixth year? Nobody.
Whom do you think of when someone mentions NAS, server virtualization, data de-duplication, Fibre Channel, network routers, desktop operating system? Yes, whether it is NetApp, Vmware, Data Domain, Brocade, Cisco, Microsoft or countless others, there was one dominant vendor to born out of each of these “new” T/M/C. They were primarily responsible for defining the “new” T/M/C. And, this is the anathema for iSCSI in my opinion.
There is no single vendor that defines iSCSI category and until there is one, it will continue to languish.
There is another lesson in languishing iSCSI. A T/M/C languishes whenever it goes through standardization before any one vendor has a chance to define it, another successful strategy in the arsenal of established players for killing new T/M/C. This is why SNIA, primarily dominated by established vendors, keep pushing to standardize new T/M/C before they have chance to take root.
I am glad to see that SNIA didn’t get their claws on data de-duplication before Data Domain had a chance to establish roots
More to come ….