New Age Storage Area Networks Storage Area Network, known as SAN is an array of storage disks, which are networked together, in order to make them appear, as one logical storage, to the operating system of the server. Generally, SAN is not accessible through a local area network like other devices and so the cost complexity was a prime factor, which was hindering its deployment. Since, this storage area network concepts deals in block level operations, it doesn’t provide a direct file abstraction. But the logic is that, certain file systems are built over Storage networks and so will be supporting file level access and will be labeled as SAN file systems or shared disk file systems.
There are two types of storage area network concepts, which are hardware storage area network and software storage area network. In the Hardware SAN, the physical storage devices have the ability to interconnect with each other at very fast rates. But the Software SAN acts as a monitoring structure of the whole network along with the configurations and makes the network data arrangement possible in a systematic way. Precisely, this type of storage is designed in such a way, that the data can be accessed from a LAN or a WAN.
SAN deployment has become less expensive from 2006, and so it is a perfect solution of storage, for small and medium sized businesses as well. With the development in the data transfer rates, touching the 10GBPS the high speed networks, are paving way for the increase in the SAN solutions count.
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Advantages of Storage Area Network
Administration becomes simple-Simplification in managing a storage area network is observed in this type of sharing storage, as the need for transparent physical migration of cables and storage devices is cut off, as it can be done through server virtualization. Overall, the management software is user friendly and is robust and well understood. This data storage over network supports all applications and enables remote integration of data assets.
Simplified SAN-in a Storage Area Network, the boot up of a server on a network takes place with no glitches and so replacement of faulty SAN servers happens through LAN feature.
SAN is good at disaster recover-with the innovations touching new heights in SAN technology, the disaster recovery has become a highlight of it.
Economic consolidation-SAN enables the acceleration of advancement of server features such as Input/Output caching, snapshotting, volume cloning and so on.
RAID-Storage area network open a wide range of aspects for the deployment of RAID technology. This helps in data recovery, at the time of disasters and can shield an organization from incurring financial losses during catastrophes.
Storage area networks use Fibre channel fabric topology, which is an infrastructure mainly, intended for storage communications. This enables high reliability and faster access which NAS and its high level protocols lack. A fabric is similar to that of a network segment in the local area network.
Basically, a Fibre channel fabric in SAN is made up of number of Fibre channel switches. By this arrangement, data is allowed to pass through the Fabric, without merging it in practical. For such working, a top level architecture is needed for promoting it in a radical way and mapping Fibre channel traffic with the internet protocol is the only logic.
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