iReady readies integrated iSCSI hardware. (Storage News Review).Even though the iSCSI market has yet to start, one start-up is already threatening to force down the price of iSCSI adapter cards.
Privately held TCP/IP stack An implementation of the TCP/IP communications protocol. Network architectures designed in layers, such as TCP/IP, OSI and SNA, are called "stacks." See TCP/IP, OSI model and protocol stack. specialist iReady Corp has unveiled hardware that it says will hugely undercut the price of existing similar products. If the company delivers on its promise, it will help to clear a potential roadblock for the overall iSCSI market. The roadblock is the cost of server adaptor card needed maintain application performance in iSCSI storage networks, which are being promoted as low-cost Ethernet-based alternatives to Fibre Channel SANs.
iReady says the bargain prices for the cards and silicon that it will ship in the third quarter reflect the fact that it is the only supplier to have developed a single chip that integrates iSCSI processing, a TOE, and IPSEC encryption and decryption (cryptography) decryption - Any procedure used in cryptography to convert ciphertext (encrypted data) into plaintext. . If the company has managed to do this and leapfrog other suppliers before the market has even started, it reflects the glacial growth rate of iSCSI sales to date.
Quite how much cheaper iReady's hardware will be compared to that offered by other suppliers is not clear, not least because there is no iSCSI established market. The company says that in the third quarter it will ship a copper Gigabit Ethernet An Ethernet standard that transmits at 1 Gbps. Used mostly to connect high-end workstations and servers as well as for network backbones, Gigabit Ethernet transmits full duplex from point to point using switches and half duplex in a shared environment (CSMA/CD) using a hub. network adaptor See network adapter. card or HBA (Host Bus Adapter) See host adapter. offering full offload To remove work from one computer and do it on another. See cooperative processing. of iSCSI processing and a full-offload TOE and at a volume OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and price of $199.
Although OEMs would charge their street customers around double that price, and the notion of a fixed price for sales to OEMs may not be entirely realistic, iReady's figure is certainly low. By publicizing a price of $199 now, the company has also set that as a maximum that it is unlikely to be able to go above.
Adaptec Corp began shipping an iSCSI and TOE card earlier this year. It would not tell ComputerWire what volume OEM prices it charges, but said that the MSRP MSRP Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
MSRP Message Session Relay Protocol
MSRP Multi-Species Recovery Plan (US Fish & Wildlife Service)
MSRP Member of the Society for Radiological Protection (UK) for its device is $660. The MSRP is a channel-based street price and so reflects much higher support costs than an OEM price, the company said. Street prices from OEMs selling the Adaptec card will be lower than the MSRP. Asked whether it will cut its prices in response to iReady, Adaptec said it would wait until it had seen iReady's technology ship before making a decision.
Alacritech Inc, a start-up which late last year announced an OEM deal with IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) Corp, currently lists a copper Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with iSCSI processing and TOE on its web site for $1,000.
"One of the criticisms of iSCSI is that it is just as expensive as Fibre Channel solutions once a TOEbased NIC (1) (Network Interface Card) See network adapter. See also InterNIC.
(2) (New Internet Computer) An earlier Linux-based computer from The New Internet Computer Company (NICC), Palo Alto, CA. is added to the equation," said Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst of Taneja Group. "Based on what iReady is positioned to offer, there is no longer an argument against iSCSI performance and cost barriers," he said. HBAs for Fibre Channel currently cost around $1,000 each, and standard Gigabit Ethernet NICs cost around $100.
Taneja warned however that although there are large margins for silicon such as this, the pressure on other suppliers to cut their prices in response to iReady will be limited by the start-up's lack of weight in the marketplace. "But as a minimum this will put pressure on other suppliers to lower their prices," he said.
iReady quoted prices for three cards, all of which it said are capable of handling data at full Gigabit duplex rates, with zero overhead on host processors. An adapter for copper Gigabit Ethernet connections with on-board iSCSI protocol conversion will carry "volume OEM pricing" of $199. The same card with added IPSEC processing will be $299, and an adapter with an optical connector for Fibre Ethernet connections will cost $399 in volume to OEMs.