The best thing that ever happened to iSCSI is 10Gb Ethernet (GbE)!

If you are a “big IT shop” kind of person then you already know what I’m talking about so you can ignore the rest of this post.  If you are a “small shop” IT person or an SMB owner, this one is for you!

We recently upgraded a customer by swapping out their ageing EqualLogic 1 gigabit SAN with a new Dell MD3600i 10 gigabit SAN and the performance jump has been nothing short of amazing.  We used small Netgear 10 GbE switches and Intel 10 GbE dual-port NIC’s to create the iSCSI network between the Dell ESXi 5.1 hosts and the SAN and I used Veeam’s “Quick Migration” tool (best “unheard” of tool you will ever use!) to copy the VM’s from the old SAN to the new one.

The performance boost is more than just “noticeable”, it is transformative.  Having cut my “SAN teeth” on fibre connected SAN’s I have to say that I always found the performance of gigabit iSCSI to be “OK” but a bit underwhelming.  This is most definitely NOT the case with 10 GbE iSCSI!  With the price of 10 GbE network gear plummeting and the availability of “entry level” iSCSI NAS and iSCSI devices increasing all the time (a la QNAP, Synology, et al), I think 10 GbE iSCSI is something worth considering for your storage needs.  It is fast!