A Storage Area Network is a high-speed sub network of shared storage devices. A SAN’s architecture works in a way that makes all storage devices available to all servers on a LAN or WAN. A Storage Area Network can be anything from two servers on a network accessing a central pool of storage devices to several thousand servers accessing many millions of megabytes of storage.
A SAN(Storage Area Network) is a network specifically dedicated to the task of transporting data for storage and retrieval. It is an alternative for storing data on disks directly attached to servers which are connected through general purpose networks. SAN uses special switches like director switch or Network Interface Cards as a mechanism to connect the devices in network. Currently, SANs are implemented using communication protocols such as ISCSI, ESCON, or FCIP. SAN comes into focus when there is need for a effective disaster recovery processes by using RAID technology.
SANs support disk mirroring, backup and restore, archival and retrieval of archived data, data migration from one storage device to another and the sharing of data among different servers in a network. SANs can incorporate subnetworks with network-attached storage (NAS) systems.
SAN technology is similar but distinct from network attached storage (NAS) technology. While SANs traditionally employ low-level network protocols for transferring disk blocks, a NAS device typically works over TCP/IP and can be integrated fairly easily into home computer networks.
A SAN infrastructure uses special Fiber Channels dedicated to data storage which offers fast data transfer speeds combined with a high level of efficiency. It also Provides `real time’ access to data across the network.
Storage Area Networks allow storage devices to exist on their own separate network and communicate directly with each other over very fast media. SANs address the bandwidth bottlenecks commonly associated with LAN-based server storage and the scalability limitations found with SCSI bus based implementations.
Read More: SAN