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10 years - "leading the way to the new storage frontier"

iSCSI - now a market reality?

by Zsolt Kerekes (September 2003)
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Zsolt Kerekes - Publisher
Zsolt Kerekes is editor of
STORAGEsearch.
As editor of a publication like STORAGEsearch I sometimes get a distorted rosy view of what's happening in the real market with new and emerging technologies.

When a new technology is announced, it first appears as an item in our news page. Then when it starts appearing in news stories by several companies, I create a special index page for it, and wait and see what happens.

For quite a long time after that, not much happens, but the content page is kept warm by increasingly severe blasts of vaporware pre-announcements and sabre rattling. Many from vendors - who never actually progress to real products - but want to be associated with the new technology - just in case.

My wake up call is when the subject climbs in popularity of the pages visited by our readers from obscurity (visited by market researchers, product developers and early adopters) to high visibility as one of the top 10 subjects.

According to our web log files iSCSI got its own unique index page as long ago as March 2001. 12 months later, it had already become the 4th most popular subject on STORAGEsearch. But I was surprised that we weren't being inundated with advertisers for this type of product. Research by one of my colleagues - who contacted every iSCSI vendor in November 2002 - showed that most of the products that vendors were talking about in their press releases and articles, particularly iSCSI accelerators, weren't actually shipping in any quantity - or at all. And I concluded and wrote that iSCSI was the vaporware product of the year 2002.

The summer of 2003 has witnessed a couple of important milestones which have changed all that.

iSCSI is now supported by Microsoft's operating systems. So you don't need to install the drivers yourself for every box down the food chain in your network.

Also Network Appliance and EMC announced this summer that they are shipping iSCSI storage systems. Although they weren't the first manufacturers to do so, by a long way, this now means that iSCSI has left the world of the intrepid early adopters and entered the mainstream.

The wave of interest from readers we're now seeing on STORAGEsearch is no longer dominated by experimenters who will look at any new technology to see if it is relevant to their needs. It's the advance wave of the new multi gigabit IP networked storage market.


If you're interested in seeing historical snapshots of iSCSI history - try these links which take you to archived versions of our iSCSI news page (and the external pages too).
iSCSI
iSCSI on
STORAGEsearch.com
Terrorbyte liked to test out hot new backup technologies.
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...Later:- it actually took another 4 to 5 years after I first published this article for iSCSI to reach $1 billion / annum.
iSCSI Grew 4x Faster than NAS Market in Q407
FRAMINGHAM, Mass - March 6, 2008 - Worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues grew 9.8% year-over-year in Q407 totaling $5.3 billion, according to IDC.

Capacity shipped grew 56.3%. Network disk storage grew 16% but the hot spot was iSCSI with 70% revenue growth.

For the full year, EMC maintained its lead in the external disk storage systems market with 22% revenue share, followed by IBM and HP. Dell, Hitachi, and Network Appliance ended the year in a statistical tie to round out the top 5. In this group Network Appliance and Dell posted the strongest year-over-year revenue growth during 2007, with 19% and 17% growth, respectively. ...IDC profile, Market research

Editor's comments:-
for most of us (whose bonuses aren't linked to these numbers) there's been no significant change in overall revenue growth in this part of the storage market for many quarters. So you might say - what's new?

One thing I'd say - is note the growing gap between the hard disk market which is growing nearly twice as fast as the "external disk systems market". That's due to a black hole in consumer products which is sucking in disks as fast as anyone can make them. And maybe due to lower margins in the enterprise storage market due to competition from what IDC lumps together as "others" - who have been trimming some of the fat off the top 5's oligopoly.

Another thing, which IDC comments on is that the doom and gloom from the worldwide financial markets doesn't seem to have slowed down this market.
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