Quick table of contents on the 3 big ways SANs make life easier:
SANs (storage area network) are equipped with powerful processors, robust networks, and solid-state drives that out-perform other storage technologies and give much higher capacity. That’s why they are the core asset of most large enterprises and are now catching onto the remaining industries’ needs and wants. SANs take away the complications of the multi-server setting by fusing storage onto a single, highly efficient mechanism that is redundant and accessed over a private network.
A SAN is a network of interconnected shared data storage devices that take storage devices and traffic off from the limited Local Area Network (LAN), thereby creating a dedicated network for shared data storage and provide access to it by multiple servers. SAN storage solutions are highly scalable, ranging from a few servers to thousands of servers accessing TBs of storage resources. SAN environments present the storage devices to the host in a way that storage appears to be locally attached – done through numerous types of virtualization techniques.
SAN provides high-speed network connectivity throughout multiple sites, internal data centers, or even the cloud, and, as you can guess, can span over large areas. SAN pools the storage capacity and offers it via a dedicated network to the servers, permitting much faster communication over faster media. Fabricated using cabling, host bus adapters (HBAs), and switches connected to storage arrays and servers, the physical connection must support high bandwidth levels to facilitate robust data transfers adequately.
SAN uses a block-level storage protocol for data storage. Which generates raw volumes of storage and each is controlled by the operating system serving each block as it were an individual hard drive. The blocks are stored in Logical Unit Numbers or LUNs and to an end-device such as a server host, these LUNs appear to be just like a local drive or direct-access-storage (DAS). On top of this, you get innumerable benefits from centralized management.
The Technologies Connecting SANs
SANs are connected using two technologies - the much faster Fibre Channel (FC) SANs are renowned for their complex, expensive, and not easy to manage facets. While the Ethernet-based Internet Small Computing System Interface (iSCSI) is less challenging and doesn’t require two separate networks (one local area network for user communication and the other for SAN storage). The latter SCSI SAN can save a lot of users but might require specialized converged network adapters (CNAs) to facilitate the host’s CPU in offloading to improve performance.
Shared SANs are primarily used for distributed applications that require high network performance such as media asset management solutions for shared video resources. The availability of applications is enhanced by using multiple data paths and performance by enabling IT administrators to segregate networks and offload storage functions. SANs also help in effectiveness and improved asset utilization by consolidating resources and to deliver tiered storage.
Storage virtualization has long been helping nondisruptive extension, migration, and reduction of application data independent of the disk storage via the host-based volume managers. Then came the SANs, adding more virtualization in connectivity to the storage – modern storage systems are all about virtualization. The additional features offered by SAN virtualization even resolve the several storage management problems like; the administrative burden of storage systems being too difficult, migration of data from one storage platform to the other, etc. Resolving all these problems, the SAN system allows you to improve customer data management with ease and offers storage efficiencies. Many of our customers are certainly becoming more aware of how to migrate and manage data promptly, and are likely to replace aging technology with a SAN.
A SAN Gives you Centralized Management
SAN enables all the storage administration at the virtualization layer, and you do remember the fact that SAN storage devices are provisioned through the virtualization technology combining all the arrays of storage devices. So, SAN virtualization can be implemented using multi-vendor storage environments with SAN vendors software management tools to administer your diversified environment with ease. All these are managed from a central and efficient single interface storage management.
The Pains of Data Migration – SAN Makes it Easy
Data migration is so difficult a task that most customers do not replace storage arrays even after the lease or support expires. In the absence of data virtualization, data migration can even result in outages, disrupting the service and requiring technical expertise in certain situations. The number of teams and business units involved in the process can also make it more difficult to realize. Using SAN virtualization, the hard disk array swap-outs can be executed without affecting anyone on the system. This capability not only makes migrations viable but way easier to make it beneficial, aiding storage managers and the value-added resellers (VARs) to benefit from the declining cost of storage to utilize the latest technology.
Improved Asset Utilization using a Storage Area Network
SAN technology improves the allocation efficiency, utilizing the maximum available storage that brings the total cost of ownership (TCO) significantly down. There can be two major reasons for the low utilization of storage; the application teams demand more storage than they need, or the application is new with not enough data available to properly plan for growth. SANs storage virtualization has the capability to solve both problems. For the former, the pace of deployment can be enhanced upon by utilizing the single management interface for allocation. While for the later thin provisioning service of the virtualization layer can be utilized for capacity planning tasks, which offer pre-allocation of storage and shared free space throughout applications optimizing unused storage space.
Benefits of using a SAN
A few advantages for you to get an overview of what you’d get:
- LAN based bandwidth bottlenecks eliminated
- No scalability limitations
- High availability and greater fault tolerance
- Centralized storage management
- Robust backups
- Global file systems
- Rapid data migration
- Improved data security
- Enhanced Storage utilization
- Greater application availability
- Improved disaster recovery and data protection
ProMax offers an innovative stack of services in digital turnkey appliances, media asset management (MAM) and shared storage solutions. Offering high-performance workgroup flows, scalability for shared storage, performance and multi-users all-in-one environment. ProMax provides a single-vendor solution for greater availability, scalability, and redundancy. Selecting the right storage solution for your organization without a doubt boils down to which technology suits the rapidly evolving storage needs of your organization.