Earlier this month, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) finally approved the long-debated iSCSI storage standard, which has been in development since 2000. The standard defines how networked storage can communicate by using existing IP networks, such as local Ethernet networks and the Internet. Many companies over the past few years have developed products based on a draft of the standard, but the final approval should significantly increase adoption of the technology. The IP Storage Forum of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) announced the standard was "technically complete" in September 2002 but minor tweaks were necessary before the standard could reach approval. The changes to the draft standard aren't expected to affect compatibility for iSCSI products that were built on the draft standard.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Fibre Channel, iSCSI's main competitor, is expected to continue to be the standard for large companies for the short term; however, analysts expect iSCSI to become popular in small and midsized businesses because if its ease of use and low cost. iSCSI primary backers include Adaptec, Cisco Systems, and IBM.