1 million IOPS demonstrated

Intel and Microsoft recently demonstrated a server system operating at more than 1 million I/O operations, or IOPS, using iSCSI and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

The purpose of the demo was to show that you don’t have to worry about iSCSI performance – that if you run iSCSI and Ethernet, your storage area network will be quite fast. No application today would actually require 1 million IOPS, so such a number provides a lot of headroom.

Intel and Microsoft are both proponents of iSCSI. Intel notes that all of its NICs have support for iSCSI built in, and Microsoft for its part wants to show off the iSCSI features of Windows Server 2008.

The test would be fodder for any vendors looking to sell the concept of a single network for data centers – that is, Ethernet. Some have argued that standardizing on Ethernet brings down costs and simplifies the data center network. However, some have pointed out that iSCSI may not be the fastest way to do storage networking. That appears to be changing, as processors get faster and so does Ethernet.

Nemertes Research recently said it expects the use of iSCSI to rise, as an alternative to Fibre Channel, particularly among smaller companies. Robin Gareiss writes that small companies have about 28% of their systems using iSCSI today, but they expect that number to rise to 42% in two years. Midsize companies are expected to go from 19% to 25% in that same time period. But large companies will only go from 1% to 2%, because they’re already heavily invested in Fibre Channel.

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