IP SAN Specs and Standards

Standards for managing and operating IP SANs are incomplete, but evolving rapidly.

iSNS: The Internet Storage Name Service, currently an IETF draft standard, provides for both automated discovery and authentication support for iSCSI devices. The standard is expected to be finalised this year.

SMI-S: The Storage Management Interface Specification is a SNIA initiative to develop a common management interface for storage networks. SNIA's work is being standardised through the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards. Support for iSCSI within the SMI-S specification is still evolving.

MPIO: Microsoft's multipath I/O technology enables multipathing for Windows hosts attached to iSCSI or Fibre Channel SANs. MPIO can be used to facilitate fail-over or load balancing. A new feature in Version 2 of Microsoft's iSCSI initiator for Windows, MPIO is likely to become the de facto standard for providing multiple communication paths between Windows hosts and IP SANs.

VDS: Virtual Disk Services is Microsoft's tool for managing heterogeneous storage systems for Windows systems. The current version supports only Fibre Channel, but VDS 1.1 will also support iSCSI. It will be released in mid-2005, six weeks after Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 ships, says Microsoft.

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