Knowledgebase

What are Storage Area Networks (SAN)?

A Storage Area Network (SAN) is a high-speed subnetwork of shared storage devices. Many IT organizations today debate whether the advantages of implementing a storage area network (SAN) justify the associated costs.  So, should you be moving away from your current storage strategy and towards a Storage Area Network (SAN)? Continue reading to learn about the storage area network and its role in modern network environments.

Even the most complex technologies provide the most basic of functions. This is certainly true of Storage Area Networks (SANs).  A Storage Area Network is a high-speed sub network of shared storage devices.  A SAN's architecture works in a way that makes all storage devices available to all servers on a LAN or WAN. As more storage devices are added to a SAN, they too will be accessible from any server in the larger network.  A Storage Area Network can be anything from two servers on a network accessing a central pool of storage devices to several thousand servers accessing many millions of megabytes of storage.

Advantage of SAN

Storage Area Networks (SANs) allow storage devices to exist on their own separate network and communicate directly with each other over very fast media. SANs address the bandwidth bottlenecks commonly associated with LAN-based server storage and the scalability limitations found with SCSI bus based implementations.

The advantages of SANs are numerous, but perhaps one of the best examples is that of the serverless backup. This system allows a disk storage device to copy data directly to a backup device across the high-speed links of the SAN without any intervention from a server. Data is kept on the SAN, which means the transfer does not pollute the LAN, and the server processing resources are still available to client systems.  These advantages have led to an increase in the popularity of SANs as they are better suited to address the data storage needs of data-intensive networks.

SAN Implementation

Storage Area Networks (SANs) are most commonly implemented using a technology called Fibre channel. Fibre Channel is a set of communication standards that supports very fast data rates. Devices on the Storage Area Network are normally connected together through a special kind of switch, called a Fibre Channel switch that acts as a connectivity point for the devices. This provides a dedicated path between the devices in the SAN fabric so that they can use of the entire bandwidth for the duration of the communication.

 

 

Do I Need SAN?

Bring it all Together: So, the question that remains is this: Should you be moving away from your current storage strategy and towards a Storage Area Network (SAN)? The answer is not a simple one. If you have the need to centralize or streamline your data storage then a SAN may be right for you. The price tag of SAN equipment may still be outside the reach of small businesses. If this is the case your business may need to investigate other types of storage networking technologies such as Direct Attached Storage (DAS) or Network Attached Storage (NAS).

  • 87 Users Found This Useful

Was this answer helpful?

Related Articles

What is Web Hosting?

Web Hosting is a Very Important Part of the Way today Internet Works.. To The End user, Then...

What Hosting Plan i should Choose?

If you are hosting your first website or application, then you might not familiar with common...

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared website hosting is hosting that puts many clients on a single server. Using this method,...

What is Disk space?

Disk space is the amount of data allocated the a specific client. For instance, if a client is...

What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the amount of data that is allowed to be transferred in and out of an account...