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Storage Area Network

Published on Apr 02, 2024


Rapid growth in data intensive appilications continues to fuel the demand for raw data storage capacity .Applications such as data warehousing, data mining, online trasaction processing and multimedia internet internet browsing have led to a near doubling of the total storage capacity being shipped globally on an annual basis.

And analysts predict that the numbers of network connections for server-storage subsystems will exceed the number of client connections are further fuelling the demand for network storage.

Limitations loom over surge of data.

With the rise of client networking, data centric computing applications, virtually all Networked-stored data has become mission critical in nature. This increasing reliance on the access to enterprise data is challenging the limitations of traditional server storage solutions. As a result, the on going need to add more storage, service more users and backup more data has become a monumental task. Having endured for nearly two decades , parallel Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) Bus that has facilitated server-storage connectivity for Local Area Network (LAN) servers , is imposing server limitations on network storage.

Compounding these limitations is the traditional use of LAN connections for server storage backup , which detracts from usable client bandwidth . To contend with these limitations , network managers are often force to compromise on critical aspects of system availability , reliability and efficiency . To address the debilitating and potentially costly effects of these constraints , an infrastructure for server-storage connectivity , which can support current and future demands is badly needed..

The Storage Area Network (SAN) is an emerging data communication platform , which interconnects servers and storage at giga baud speeds. By combining LAN networking with core building blocks of server performance and mass storage capacity, SAN eliminates the bandwidth bottlenecks and scalability limitations imposed by previous SCSI bus-based architectures.

In addition to the fundamental connectivity benefits of SAN , the new capabilities , facilitated by its networking approach , enhance its value as a long term infrastructure.

These capabilities, which include compute clustering, topological flexibility, fault tolerance, high availability, and remote management, further elevate SAN's ability to address the growing challenges of data intensive, mission-critical applications. From a client network perspective, the SAN environment complements the ongoing advancements in LAN and WAN technologies by extending the benefits of improved performance and capabilities all the way from the client and backbone through to servers and storage.

Fiber Channel : The Open SAN Solution.

Over the past year, Fiber Channel-Arbitrated Loop (FCAL) has emerged as the high-speed, serial technology of choice for server-storage connectivity. Most organizations prefer this solution because of the widely endorsed open standards. This broad acceptance is attributed not only to FC-AL's high bandwidth and high scalability but also to its unique ability to support multiple protocols, such as SCSI and IP, over a single physical connection. This enables the SAN infrastructure to serve as both a server-interconnect and as a direct interface to storage devices and storage arrays.

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