What is Storage Area Network? Advantages of SAN

Data is the primary asset that serves as a crucial commodity for effectively fueling digital growth and is the sole reason for any web industry revolution. The noteworthy declaration of Clive Humby, which says ‘data is the new oil,’ highly provides insights into how data is relevant to the precious resource when it comes ongoing digital age. Since storing and securing each valuable commodity is essential, data storage solutions, for instance, network storage, have come up as a boom. 

The advanced data storage and administration solutions enable enterprises or companies to simplify all critical processes that form the most paramount aspect of any business, such as customer onboarding, sales optimization, etc.

Here are the network storage options that are quite typical in the current times – 

  1. Storage Area Network (SAN)
  2. Network-Attached Storage (NAS)
  3. Direct-Attached Storage (DAS)

Each of the mentioned solutions possesses its own benefits and drawbacks. However, Storage Area Network (SAN) comes with numerous advantages as well as a lower cost of execution. Therefore, it is becoming a foremost choice for every kind of organization, from Multinational Corporations (MNCs) to Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With this article, let’s dig down and acquire detailed knowledge about the SAN network. 

What is Storage Area Network?

Storage Area Network(SAN) is a network known for its high-speed as well as secured dedicated network storage. It enables access to a subnetwork of shared storage devices. Further, it is also responsible for interconnecting the shared pool of storage devices while making them accessible to numerous servers. Each such server gets the capability to access the shared storage pool as if it is actually connected to the server. Moreover, the Storage Area Network architecture is devised in a way that allows it to make every storage device available to all servers on a LAN or WAN. The pooled resources get connected through SAN switches. 

On the other side, the SAN is constructed with the usage of cabling, host bus adapters, and switches. Generally, the deployment of Storage Area Network is done through Fibre Channel (FC) technology. This technology basically makes use of Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). The FC traffic is then directed over high-speed Ethernet infrastructures. Also, the Fibre Channel SANs are deemed relatively costly, so normally, the big corporations employ them.  

Alternatively, SMEs make use of the Internet Small Computing System Interface (iSCSI). This is because iSCSI diminishes the complexity of FC SANs while encapsulating the SCSI commands into IP packets. Thus, companies can utilize the infrastructure for both LAN & SAN with iSCSI rather than operating two networks. This option is quite suitable for those organizations or individuals who might not possess the needed technical expertise as well as funds to sustain Fibre Channel SAN.

How does Storage Area Network (SAN) Work?

Although the functioning of the Storage Area Network is a complex process, it delivers a comprehensive array of advantages. However, before we highlight the benefits of SAN, check out below how SAN actually works –  

  1. Once the host attempts to access the storage device on SAN, a block-based access request is sent out. 
  2. Further, the SCSI commands get encapsulated in the FC packets. And, the HBA transforms the request into the optical form as it is required to make transmission possible on the fiber optic.
  3. Next, the FC request gets transmitted to the Storage Area Network by HBA.
  4. Finally, one of the SAN switches acquires the request and then sends the same request to the storage processor. At last, this request is sent to the storage device.

Advantage of Storage Area Network

Storage Area Network provides several benefits that enable businesses to enhance their various aspects. Check out below some of the ultimate benefits of Storage Area Network – 

Efficient Disk Utilization

With the help of SAN, you get the benefit of attaining better disk utilization. This is because SAN provides storage availability in a centralized manner that lets the IT administrator manage and supervise everything as a single entity. On the other side, you can also assign more resources to the servers that require them the most. This is done at the network level by slicing the central storage pool. Whereas to acquire similar outcomes in the absence of SAN, you would have to add additional disks and expand the server space. As a result, this turns out to be expensive as well as leads to a wastage of storage resources.

Disaster Recovery

Businesses, individuals, or companies are required to rely on data and other online applications for their numerous aspects. Thus, it is highly necessary to secure this data while assuring smooth and compelling operations. The fate of any business during the occurrence of disasters is determined by how the IT department is able to safeguard things and get them running. This is where the SAN-based disaster recovery system comes into the picture. It has the capability to ensure the fastest recovery while serving the application first that needs higher availability. Further, you can maintain data consistency through data-protection algorithms that operate at peak within the storage array of the SAN.

Speedy, Reliable, and Centralized Backup

With the usage of SAN, you get the assurance that there is no hampering of data transfer and access. In case any server is disconnected, then the other server automatically replaces it in order to stabilize the data load. You acquire simplified administration and extensive flexibility with SAN. This is because Storage Area Network does not involve single cables. Also, it does not contain storage devices that have to be carried physically. So, SAN helps you to enhance overall storage utilization and effectiveness. Moreover, backing up considerable chunks of data is crucial for any enterprise that produces them on a daily basis. For obvious reasons, a slow data backup solution may not be appropriate in such a case. But SAN can effectively solve this problem. It has the power of duplicating data copies at a faster rate. With this, the IT administrator gets the ability to back up all the data at frequent intervals. 

Need to Use Storage Area Network final Conclusion

Storage Area Network is necessary for any business that requires the following –

  • High application availability without any hampering of data
  • Security against data corruption and disk failure
  • Complete data protection against unauthorized users
  • Quick data transfer and retrieval with high-speed optic fibers

Among all the choices existing in the market, Storage Area Network serves as a straightforward and most efficient process when it comes to data storage. Analyze and determine the requirements of your business or company while comparing or seeking the data storage options in order to pick the most suitable option.

Also Read: How to Create a WordPress Website

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Arpit Saini

He is the Director of Cloud Operations at Serverwala Cloud Data Centers Pvt Ltd and also follows a passion to break complex tech topics into practical and easy-to-understand articles. He loves to write about Web Hosting, Software, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and much more.

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