From the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur

A new way to handle office computing is coming to town. Internet SCSI (iSCSI )is a standard that allows computers to access and share remote (rather than internal) hard drives over a network using IP Internet protocols. The hard drives show up on each desktop as local disks and behave that way for the user. iSCSI is also expected to make installing a Storage Area Network, a much simpler and more affordable task.

That iSCSI works over familiar existing Ethernet networks is a point in its favor. At its most basic, all you need is an iSCSI adapter and the proper software. You can get the advantages of shared storage drives while each computer still uses its own processing power and memory, limiting the drag on resources that can occur with solutions like thin clients. Tasks such as upgrading software for multiple computers, backing up data and managing systems could be greatly simplified.

Analysts say that iSCSI will be more cost-effective compared to Fibre Channel, the competing technology that requires an investment in fiber optic lines. One drawback is iSCSI's 1GB speed compared to Fibre Channel's 2GB. Midsized businesses with offices with workgroups will be natural initial targets. This year will see iSCSI moving along in the market and becoming widely available from vendors like Adaptec, Cisco Systems and IBM. Visit www.iscsistorage.com for news, updates and product information.