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Carnival Cruise Lines sails with iSCSI

Lucas Mearian | Feb. 2, 2011
There's no reason for FUD in deploying iSCSI, says Carnival's exec

The Dell EqualLogic arrays run vStorage API integration with VMware vSphere, which automatically migrates data from SSD to SATA hard drives based on preset performance requirements.

Carnival storage architect Robert Torres said there was initially some concern that iSCSI running on 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet couldn't maintain the throughput required to support the company's Oracle 10g data warehouse.

"We drive a lot of data, about 600MB a second or 11,000 IOPS. We were able to not only achieve that but surpass that ... without stress. We have a lot of room for overhead and growth," he said.

Torres said he sees Carnival as a trend follower when it comes to its deployment of iSCSI technology, and he's watched more and more enterprises embrace the technology. Torres said one reason many enterprises may have dragged their feet in deploying iSCSI technology is because it's been associated with small and medium-sized business in the past, but he said he's confident that it can handle all but the most demanding performance requirements. For example, Carnival continues to use its Symmetrix arrays for its fiber-attached mainframe.

"I don't think we invented the wheel here. It's being driven by cost savings," he said.

Liz Conner, a senior research analyst for Storage Systems at research firm IDC agrees. According to Conner, iSCSI SAN deployments have increased 41.4% in 2010 over the previous year and NAS grew 49.8% year-over-year.

"The increased investment by end users and vendors alike in [iSCSI] has helped fuel the overall growth [of storage], while easing budget constraints sparking a pickup in [Fibre Channel] SAN and higher end systems alike," she said in a statement.

One of the reasons iSCSI has gained popularity is because of its ability to use commodity Ethernet switches instead of more expensive Fibre Channel switches. Using iSCSI also eliminates the need for host bus adapters on application servers, which are also costly.

"It does require an integrated IT organization - that the networking group and the storage group work well together, which really gives you cost savings too because you're utilizing the intellectual property of your people better, too. But now you have common core switches. The cost of that network connectivity really goes down," Eney said. "There's no reason having FUD going into this."


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