Main advantage of storage area network is increase of performance of data storage systems, its fault-tolerance and scalability. SAN system’s performance is much higher than that of traditional storage systems which is ensured by high data transfer rate of used interfaces as well as by SAN architecture's flexibility (load balancing, LAN-free backup, etc.). Due to application of such technologies as redundant I/O paths, server-clustering and run-time data replication substantially increases the fault-tolerance of data storage systems. Increasing data storage capacity or adding new devices into the system does not require the user to stop servers or client’s subnetworks, which also reduces cost of running and in some cases is an compulsory requirement.
Moving data backup beyond local area networks and much less beyond wide area networks is an important point for modern information systems that allows decreasing network’s load.
As well as other information technologies, SAN is based on standards that ensure compatibility of system components. Software of SAN plays not less important role that its hardware components. Its software ensures the most important properties of SAN, such as:
- SAN management
- SAN monitoring
- SAN configuring
- Redundant input \ output paths management
- LUN masking and mapping
- server-free backup
- Data replication (local or remote)
- Shared data repository (including heterogeneous platforms)