A rising tide lefts all iSCSI boats, but ours has Fibre Channel too.

In a nutshell that's Compllent's take on the EqualLogic acquisition by Dell. In more detail Phil Soran, Compellent chairman and CEO, says: "Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic adds further momentum to the market for network storage solutions that support iSCSI. We agree with Michael Dell's statement that our customers will be dealing with the largest increase in data we have seen in our history over the next few years. We believe that the simplification and virtualization of storage needs to be an essential element of any storage vendors' market strategy."

Sure, certainly, nothing controversial here.

"The path to the virtual data centre, though, should be lined with storage area network (SAN) products that offer simultaneous support for both iSCSI and FC server connections. A flexible approach to connectivity allows businesses to optimise their storage resources and select the right technology for each application, rather than being forced into a connectivity choice that may not work best for their business."

Good stuff. Hmm. Some flies might still land on Phil Soran's smooth and creamy ointment though.

One is FCOE. Stick Fibre Channel (FC) onto data-centre-class Ethernet and you don't need iSCSI in virtual datacentres. Replace the processor-hogging iSCSI stack on servers with a FC driver and Robert becomes your uncle with consequent release of CPU cycles.

Two is that Dell can be a one-stop-shop; servers and storage together? Sure thing, no problemo.

Three is that IT shops with no FC aren't interested in having it, at least until FCOE comes along with affordable prices and they don't have to get involved with the messy, complex and expensive SAN fabric hardware stuff.

Four is ease of use. The latest HDS SMS 100 arrays set a new benchmark here, one that SMEs, not having datacentre-class storage sysadms, ought to be very responsive to. That is probably a feature that will punch SME iSCSI array sales up, up and away, not just FC connectivity alongside iSCSI.

I reckon Compellent is going to face head-on competition from Dell EqualLogic kit in the we-don't-have-FC space and it should have at least as good a product, preferably better, as Dell, and a great channel programme, and terrific prices and good service. The whole product-sales-service mix has to be first class.

A rising tide lifts all iSCSI boats, indeed, but the wind is now stronger and the waves bigger too. Your boat better be able to deal with this stormier weather.