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Microsoft Ships iSCSI Support

Delivering on one of the major free, post-release add-ons to Windows Server 2003, Microsoft this week put out the Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) software initiator package.

Support for iSCSI was among the first of the so-called "out-of-band" software components scheduled for release after Windows Server 2003 shipped in late April. The iSCSI package also supports Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 servers and Windows XP.

iSCSI is a storage protocol for transporting block-level storage traffic over IP networks, lowering the cost of storage area networks by reducing the need for expensive Fibre Channel infrastructures. Microsoft quotes Gartner's Dataquest market research arm as projecting that iSCSI will connect more servers to SANs by 2006 than any competing technology.

Microsoft's iSCSI package includes an ISCSI initiator service and an iSCSI initiator software driver. The package is available at www.microsoft.com/downloads.

The technology came out of Microsoft's relatively new Enterprise Storage Division, which is supposed to better focus the software giant's attention on storage requirements. Other major storage enhancements delivered in Windows Server 2003 include the Volume Shadow Copy Service and multi-path I/O for enabling more highly available detached storage.

Microsoft plans to deliver a number of other "out-of-band" features for Windows Server 2003. They include support for 64-bit AMD processors, Automated Deployment Services, Virtual Server technology and a secure setup configuration utility. Last month, Microsoft delivered on another "out-of-band" roadmap component in the form of an update to the NAS version of Windows, now called Windows Storage Server 2003.

About the Author

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

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