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Sans Demystified

Sans Demystified

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CHAPTER
Understanding
Storage Area
Networks
1
1
Source: SANs Demystified

Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)
Copyright \u00a9 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.
Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

What is a storage area network (SAN)? A SAN is a high-speed dedi- cated network that is not unlike a local area network (LAN). A SAN establishes direct connections between storage elements, clients, or servers. SANs are developed through the use of multiple storage devices (such as aredundant array of independent disks [RAID],just

a bunch of disks[JBODs], or tape libraries) that are connected in an

any-to-any relationship and accessed via one or more servers. In plain English, SAN systems do not require server connections; they are LAN-free backup systems. They do not need to be housed in the same box as servers, nor are they required to be from the same man- ufacturing companies as servers. Rather than putting data storage directly on the network, the SAN solution puts data storage network devicesbetween storage subsystems and the servers. SANs can be built as switched- and/or shared-access networks. They offer excep- tional improvements in scalability, fault recovery, and diagnostic analysis information.

Why is data storage such an important issue? Well, it is esti- mated that 3.2 millionexabytes of information exist on the earth today, and this number exceed 43 million by the year 2005. And in case you\u2019re wondering, anexa is defined as 1 billion, so in decimal terms, one exabyte is equal to a billion gigabytes! With data, or information, constituting such a large measurement, it is no sur- prise that data storage has become an issue of major importance for modern businesses.

The benefits that SANs offer when addressing data storage issues
are that they provide environments where
\u25a0All data storage assets are shared among multiple servers
without being physically attached to their storage bases.
\u25a0Data movements and manipulation are being managed with
greater ease and efficiency.
\u25a0There are significant reductions in the negative impacts on
critical business applications.

In short, SANs have been developed to alleviate the limitations of single-server storage. They are, for all intents and purposes, extended storage buses that can be interconnected using similar

Chapter 1
2
Understanding Storage Area Networks

Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)
Copyright \u00a9 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.
Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

interconnect technologies that are typically already used on LANs andwide area networks (WANs), namely, routers, hubs, switches, and gateways.

What\u2019s in a SAN?

What comprises a SAN? Though commonly spoken of in terms of hardware, SANs also include specialized software for managing, monitoring, and configuring data storage. In discussing SAN hard- ware, we refer to three major components:

\u25a0Interfaces-Host bus adapters (HBAs)
\u25a0Interconnects-Targets
\u25a0Fabrics-Switches

SAN Interfaces
Common SAN Interfaces include Fibre Channel,Small Computer
System Interface (SCSI), SSA, Enterprise Systems Connection

(ESCON),High-Performance Parallel Interface (HIPPI), and Bus-&- Tags. All these options allow the storage of data to exist externally to the server. They also can host shared storage configurations for clus- tering.

SAN Interconnects
Examples of SAN interconnects include multiplexors, hubs, routers,
extenders, gateways, switches, and directors. Typically,information
technology (IT) professionals are familiar with these terms if they

have installed a LAN or WAN. The SAN interconnect ties a SAN interface into a network configuration across large distances. The interconnect also links the interface to SAN fabrics.

3
Understanding Storage Area Networks
Understanding Storage Area Networks

Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com)
Copyright \u00a9 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.
Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

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