This How To Build A SAN guide provides a brief overview to building your own Storage Area Net-work (SAN) using industry standard off-the-shelf hardware or a repurposed server that you alreadyhave as well as freely available storage software that will convert your box into a fully-functionalSAN. The SAN that you will build will work directly on your Ethernet network without any additionalinvestments.But why bother with an Ethernet SAN at all? With this SAN you can do many common tasks far easier and faster than with conventional file servers and direct attached disks. A SAN gives you“shared storage” on your network, which means that you can centrally manage all of your stor-age from one device as opposed to managing storage on each application server. Shared storageallows simplified backups and replication between storage devices at a far lower cost than hostbased replication. Ultimately, you can use a SAN for any server applications as demonstrated inthis diagram:Also, when using virtual machines with VMware or Hyper-V, shared storage greatly simplifies andleverages the fact that your server is now stored as a single large VM file. Using shared storagemakes it significantly easier to manage, provision and protect virtual machines. Further, you needshared storage to use high availability features of virtual machines such as VMware’s VMotion,VMwareHA, VCB and DRS.This whitepaper details how anyone can easily build their own SAN without incurring the highcosts associated with proprietary SAN vendors hardware. You can use off-the-shelf server hard-ware and storage software to build your own custom SAN - this significantly reduces the entry costfor IT departments without limiting functionality. Before we dive into the details, we’ll review someessential points about SANs and touch on a few key issues surrounding the iSCSI vs. FC protocoldebate.
Ultimately,you can usea SAN for anyserver appli-cations