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iSCSI Driver Coming to Windows in June

Microsoft will deliver Internet SCSI (iSCSI) support in June as an add-in for Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional. The driver will be free and available as a download, Microsoft said Wednesday.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recently ratified iSCSI, an IP-based storage networking standard expected to broaden the use of Storage Area Networks by allowing storage traffic to be piped over ubiquitous Ethernet infrastructures rather than over more expensive Fibre Channel networks. Microsoft quotes Gartner as saying iSCSI will be the most common method for connecting servers to SANs by 2006, providing the technology for 1.5 million servers connections.

The Microsoft driver will include support for data encryption, IPSec, Internet Storage Name Service and management via WMI. The Beta 2 version of the driver is scheduled for a late March release.

The announcement follows an iSCSI Plugfest Microsoft held for 26 partner vendors last month in Redmond. Vendors participating in Microsoft's iSCSI beta program is a who's who of storage software, hardware and networking vendors, including Adaptec, Brocade, Cisco, Crossroads, DataCore, Dell, EMC, Emulex, HP, IBM, Intel, NEC, Network Appliance, QLogic and Quantum.

The driver is one of several features and services Microsoft will add to Windows Server 2003 after it ships on April 24. Other major features that have either been announced as downloadable add-ins or pulled from the OS to form the basis of a separate product include Real-time Communications, Virtual Server, SharePoint Services, Windows Rights Management Services, the Security Configuration Wizard and the Group Policy Management Console.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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