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Conclusion

iSCSI SANs Compared
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We’re well aware that this wasn’t an apples to apples comparison, as the rack mount Adaptec SnapServer 720i is far more sophisticated than the EnhanceRAID T8 IP pedestal appliance. They clearly address different market segments, and both there are well justified in being where they were positioned by their respective vendors. However, iSCSI SANs are becoming more and more important, as Gigabit Ethernet is inexpensive and basically ubiquitous in small and medium businesses. Storage performance bottlenecks on Ethernet SANs can be widened by running multi-path GbE connections for iSCSI, effectively combining the bandwidth of multiple concurrent network links. Clearly, adding an iSCSI storage appliance to an IT infrastructure is highly attractive for all application types, as long as performance isn’t the only factor.

Hence, it makes a lot of sense to look at the two products from a cost standpoint, as the benchmark results do not differ very much with the exception of the I/O benchmark results, where Adaptec clearly beats Enhance Technology. So let’s get to the bottom line: Adaptec charges $11,490 for 2 TB, while Enhance Technology asks $1,750 without hard drives. Buying the same four 500 GB drives results in an effective cost of less than $2,500 for the EnhanceRAID T8 IP, which represents a significant cost difference.

We hope that Adaptec is watching closely, as Enhance Technology will not be the only competitor in the entry-level market. Getting flexible solutions at less than five-digit cost is crucial for small and medium businesses. Open-E’s software iSCSI solutions allow customers to use their own hardware, which typically is more cost effective than the Adaptec offer as well.

Adaptec clearly dominates with its enterprise class features, warranty, I/O performance, excellent scalability and upgrade path, but the investment might snap up a substantial part of your IT budget. If you can live with a limited feature set, Enhance Technology’s entry-level SAN provides much better bang for the buck for small businesses looking for up-to-date storage technology they can rely on for a few years. The EnhanceRAID T8 IP provides sufficient performance at an acceptable investment level - even though you’ll have to replace it once you need to move beyond the capacity limit provided by eight hard drives.

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