Microsoft is offering a free download of iSCSI Initiator users guide designed for customers running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
"Microsoft Internet iSCSI Initiator enables you to connect a host computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to an external iSCSI-based storage array through an Ethernet network adapter," the software giant said.
"You can use Microsoft iSCSI Initiator in your existing network infrastructure to enable block-based storage area networks (SANs). SANs provide iSCSI target functionality without investing in additional hardware, and they enable the use of iSCSI storage devices in home and small offices."
"Present volumes as a block storage device. This makes iSCSI devices ideal for use by enterprise applications such as Exchange Server and SQL Server. In particular, Microsoft iSCSI Initiator is the component in the overall iSCSI environment that creates the appearance that the iSCSI SANs are locally attached disks."
iSCSI SANs and iSCSI storage devices are popular for a variety of reasons. They offer the ability to do the following:
- Leverage existing investments in Ethernet infrastructures and expertise
- Leverage existing investments in IP protocol
- Offer dynamic capacity expansion
- Simplify SAN configuration and management
- Centralize management through storage consolidation
- Provide scalable performance
- Provide higher storage utilization
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