Netstation "Renewal", and the Genesis of iSCSI
The Netstation web site has moved (click the link). Actually, the page partially moved a while back, but some links broke in the process; it should now be complete.
Netstation was a project at USC's Information Sciences Institute, focusing on the re-architecting of systems around a network instead of a bus. Greg Finn came up with the idea (independently arrived at by others at Cambridge and MIT) in 1991 or earlier, and the project was funded by ARPA 1994-7, if I recall correctly. We did a network-attached display, keyboard, and disk. Arguably, the work that came from Netstation, members of the National Storage Industry Consortium's working group on Network-Attached Storage (notably Garth Gibson, John Wilkes, and Richard Golding), and later work at Quantum Corp. in collaboration with 3com and Adaptec were the genesis of iSCSI.
The idea of network-attached peripherals goes back at least to the early 1980s, and mainframe architectures employ a switched I/O infrastructure that looks like a network if you squint. A number of these are documented in my OSR paper, available from the Netstation page. But I'll take some of the credit for insisting that the protocol be IP-based; see my 1998 ASPLOS paper, "VISA: Netstation's Virtual Internet SCSI Adapter". Simply googling for "iSCSI" doesn't turn up that paper, because it was written before the term "iSCSI" was coined.
When you first bring the idea of IP-attached peripherals up, hardware folks are negative because of the performance implications, but the really difficult problems are security, device discovery, and sharing. The most interesting change is that the boundary of the system disappears. These problems remain research challenges, a decade later, despite a few forays in that general direction, many of them by Garth Gibson and his students, co-workers and collaborators.
(On a side note, one paper that we wrote that was never published was "NXS: X on a Network-Attached Frame Buffer". We submitted it to the 10th X Conference, but it was rejected, and we never revised and resubmitted. I no longer have a copy of the paper; if anyone out there reading it was on the program committee for that conference and is a compulsive pack rat, I'd love to have one back. That was the single hairiest piece of coding I've ever done...)
I should write up a little more on the history and prehistory of iSCSI. The brief timeline on IBM's web page doesn't go into any of that prehistory...