Skip to content
Taylor HodgettsOct 31, 2019 11:57:43 AM1 min read

What is a SAN fabric?

A San fabric is the hardware that connects servers and workstations to storage devices in a SAN. A San is configured into a number of zones. These zones include host zones, system zones, and disk zones. The SAN fabric is made up of the devices which connect these zones together allowing an any-storage-any-device connection environment. This includes a number of Fiber Channel based Switches and Routers sometimes referred to as Domains. A SAN fabric can contain two hundred and thirty nine domains, scaling out to over fifteen million connections within a single fabric. The number of devices within a SAN fabric determine what level of SAN topology can be implemented. The more complex and resilient a SAN topology is, the larger the SAN fabric require to support it.  

Recommendations when constructing a SAN Fabric

  • Ensure core switches have the highest performance
  • Use edge/core/core/edge or core/edge topology as appropriate
  • Use MPIO based failover where possible
  • Separate storage and servers by edge switches
  • Create redundancy for switches, port and paths
  • Use redundant fabrics
  • Keep redundant fabrics consistent regarding port locations to simplify maintenance
  • Consider using ICL chassis links if your switches support them to save on ports
  • Keep cable lengths as consistent as possible, moreso for ICL connections.
  • Have a minimum of 2 core switches
  • Have at least 2 trunks between every core - edge pair