What is SAN?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_iStock_000021510029XSmall.jpgSAN (storage area network) is a dedicated network that is separated from traditional local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN). Generally it is designed to unite the resources of disk memory connected to one or several servers. As rule, it features a high data throughput (Gb\sec) between the elements of disk system and perfectly scalable architecture. Storage area network often (practically always) includes specialized software for control, monitoring and configuration.

Storage area network comes with a variety of advantages. One the main advantages is centralized operations and management of mass data. Administering information storage resources for fast-growing projects and applications as rule is a complicated and expensive task. SAN drastically decreases the price and complexity of mass data management and at the same time it provides a considerable improvement of its features.

Storage area network can use (and usually does so) several different types of high speed interfaces. At present, servers with optical interfaces are a de facto standard when building SAN. Fiber channel is an industrial standard for connections and high-performance input-output serial protocols. Additionally, SCSI interfaces are often used as subinterfaces to unite internal SAN components, such as disks and RAID controllers.

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)

Last modified on Thursday, 28 May 2015 17:12
Data Recovery Expert

Viktor S., Ph.D. (Electrical/Computer Engineering), was hired by DataRecoup, the international data recovery corporation, in 2012. Promoted to Engineering Senior Manager in 2010 and then to his current position, as C.I.O. of DataRecoup, in 2014. Responsible for the management of critical, high-priority RAID data recovery cases and the application of his expert, comprehensive knowledge in database data retrieval. He is also responsible for planning and implementing SEO/SEM and other internet-based marketing strategies. Currently, Viktor S., Ph.D., is focusing on the further development and expansion of DataRecoup’s major internet marketing campaign for their already successful proprietary software application “Data Recovery for Windows” (an application which he developed).

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