SAN Technical Brief

What is SAN

The term SAN in the computer world most commonly refers to Storage Area Network. A storage Area Network is a type of local Area Network(LAN)designed to handle large data transfers and bulk storage of digital information.It's also a delightedhigh-speed network or subnetwork that interconnects and presents shared pools of storage devices to multiple servers. A SAN moves storage resources off the common user network and reorganizes them into independent, high-performance network.This enables each server to access shared storage as if it were a drive directly attcached to the server. A storage area network is typically assembled using three principle components:cabling, host bus adaoters and switches attached to storage arrays and servers.When it waas first introduced, it solved the storage problmes of it's time and has since then become a house hold name.

History of SAN

Since their days in the 1990s and 2000s, SAN technology has evolved considerably and drastically. There's always changes and improvements being made to it. When storage Area Network was first introduced, it solved the storage problem of that time and has become a foundational piece of IT infrastructure archicture. it's had its place in the storage for long time and has driven major innovations in the storage. Storage Area Network has shaped the modern IT landscape, and where storeage is going from here. If Server A needed more storage and server B had a surplus, the only way to redistribute was physically remove a disk fom Server B and add it toserver A.This was not alwyays easy and usually meant over-provisioning storage and inflating budgets. SAN solved this issue by making a pool of storage available to servers across a network.

Fibre Channel vs ISCI

These are the two dominant communication technologie for storage networks.Fibre Channel and iSCI have mostly been used in SANs and have competing with each other for many years and will continue to do the same for many more years to come.Fibre channel was the leading and most used choice SAN during the 1990. Traditional Fibre channel contaions special purpose hardware called Fibre channel switches that connect the storage to the SAN plus fibre channel host bus adapters(HBA). Fibre Channel SAN is known for its reliability, lossless nature, two times FC spped bumps, and carefully tested interoperability between vendors. on the other hand,ISCSI which is formally known as Internet Small Computer Interfaces is an internet protocol based storage networking standard for linking data storage facilities. ISCI is known for running on global ethernet networks, 10x ethernet speed bumps, and supporting commodity networking hardware from many vendors. ISCI over GB etherney works better for tiered access of smaller and distributed servers. ISCI is a great option for enevironments that need network, block-level shared to supportapplications such aa database(Oracle and SQL), Excnage or deployment of server-based foile sharing system.

Advantages and DisAdvantages of SAN

Just like everything has it's ups and downs, so does SAN have it advantages and disadvantages. There's a lot of advantages that come with using SAN. Some of the benefits are; elimination of bandwidth bottlenecks associate with LAN-based server storage, no scalability limitations imposed by SCSI bus-based implementations, faster backups, and centralized storage management are just a few of gthe advantagesthat comes with using SAN.The main disadvantages of SANs are cost and complexity. SAN hardware tends to be expensive, and building and managing a SAN requires a specialized skill set.

Types of SAN

There are quite a few types of Storage Area Networks, notably virtual storage area network(VSAN), Unified Storage Area Network, Converged Atorage Area Network. A virtual storage area network(VSAN) is a software defined storage offereing that is implementated on top of a hypervisor, such as VMware ESXi or Microsoft Hhyper-V. Virtual SANs yield a number of benefits, such as ease of management and scalability. Unified SAN is based on the concept of unified storage, whichexposes file storage and block storage through a single device, sually a modified network-attached storage appliance(NAS Appliance). Converged SANuses a common network infrastructure for network and SAN traffic to eliminate redundant infrastructure and to reduce cost and complexity. It also combines storage and computing resources into single entity.

Differences between SAN and SAN

Both SAN(storage Area Network) and NAS(Network Attached Storage)provide special storage solutions to companies. But sometimes the names get confused with one another because the acronyns are similar. A NAS server includes a hardware device that connects to a local area network, usually through an ethernet connection. This NAS server process clients and manages file operations in much the same manner as traditional file servers, through well-established network protocols. NAS became very popular next to SAN because it's less expensive and uses ethernet. NAS also use structured data stored in databases. SAN is far more complex and expensive than NAS and it's being used by some of the largest IT companies in the world.

SAN MARKET

SAN(storage Area Network) have immensely helped small and medium scale entrepreneurs. The inbuilt capabilities such as shared storage, centralized control and flexibility to share capacity between multiple hosts is ctreating a broader market acceptance of the product in the glibal market. The SAN market is good, although not great,it stil has some of the big ITcompanies using it. As stated eralier, in 2016, Dell made a $60 billion plus acquisition of EMC in what was the largestIT acquisition ever. Over thousands of companies uses storage Area Networkand i'm talking about big known companies. Most of the companies in the market for SAN are in the Uunited States and have revenue income in the millions of dollars. Most of these companies are in computer software industry and have more than 10000 employees under their belt. Some the known companies are IBM(United States), Grace Communications Inc(United States), Electrolux Group(Sweden), IMSI India Private Limited(India), just to name a few. NetApp is the largest storage-only vendor remaining following Dell's merger with EMC. NetApp began as a Network Appliance in 1992, and it was among the early NAS vendors. It added block storage capabilities to it's FAS platform in 2002, and FAS arrays are now available with FC, ISCI or NAS connectivity, or any combination of the three.

SAN/NAS CONVERGENCE

As Internet technologies like TCIP/IP and Ethernet profliferate worldwide, some Storage Area Network products are making the transition from fibre channel to the same IP-based approach Network Attached Storage uses. Also, with the fast improvements in disk storage technology, today's NAS devices now offer capacities and performances that once were only possible with SAN. These two industry factors have led to partial convergence of NAS and SAN approaches to network storage, effectively creatingh high spoeed, high-capacity, centrally located network devices. When SAN and NAS joined together into one device in this way, it's sometimes referre to as UNIFIED SAN, and it's often the case that the device is a NAS device that simply utilizes the same technology behind SAN

SUMMARY

All in all, SAN may not be as relevant as it used to be several years ago. It's stil one of the best storage systems around. Although it does not come cheap, it's still very important in the computer world, witgh proven durability and relevancy. Consolidating storage into an ISCSI SAN can improve your disk space utilization and simplify an admin;s life when having to provision new servers or storage in the future. Instead of buying a larger server with tons of internal disk space, SAN can be simpler solution for that. SAN's introduction has helped shaped the storage world and improve it's confidentiality. With the use of SAN, it helps keep your informatio safe and secure with the assurance nobody can have access to your information not even your boss. There's alwasys room to better SAN but it's time maybe up. Although it still gets the job done effectively, its not as popular as it used to be. Ddespite it's decades of success, it apperas that the storage technology of the future is not SAN.