Microsoft gives iSCSI a boost

Microsoft Corp.'s June 30 announcement of the availability of its Internet SCSI software package, including an initiator service and an initiator software driver, could give iSCSI a place in the sun.

Available free at www.microsoft.com/downloads, the software driver is for Microsoft Windows 2000 client and server versions, Windows XP and the recently launched Windows Server 2003 family of products. In addition to Microsoft, more than 85 independent software and hardware vendors are developing Windows applications and storage hardware products for iSCSI.

To ensure interoperability and quality assurance for its customers, Microsoft has created an iSCSI Designed for Windows Logo Program through which vendors can qualify their Windows iSCSI hardware.

The element of self-promotion shouldn't negate its value to the general public. An iSCSI driver published and maintained by Microsoft should take some of the pressure off developers who are more comfortable making iSCSI products than working out new drivers every couple of weeks.

And potential iSCSI users, including IP storage area network users, should take comfort in knowing that the driver for their Windows server is bundled into its operating system.

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