First introduced in the beginning of the 2000s, a SAN (Storage Area Network) can legitimately claim to be truly 21st Century technology! Initially limited to enterprise class computing, SANs today are an essential component in the ongoing quest for greater organizational storage.
The implementation of a SAN significantly simplifies the management of information, and plays a crucial role in the secure and consistent transfer of data.
What Does It Do?
Multiple servers automatically create unconnected islands of information. Each island is accessible by one computer in the organization, but not the others. The defining characteristic of a SAN is its universal connectivity of storage devices and computers.
As its name implies, a SAN (Storage Area Network) enables multiples servers to be accessed by a network of storage devices. This enables computers to share data with each other. To a server, SAN devices look like attached drives, and this eliminates the bottlenecks traditionally associated with networks.
How Does It Work?
A SAN typically supports data storage, and uses high-end servers for data retrieval and replication on business networks. The technology is similar to that used for NAS (Network Attached Storage), but with a SAN, the major difference is that it traditionally uses low-level network protocols for transferring disk blocks, while a NAS usually works over TCP/IP.
There are two types of SAN:
- * iSCSi (Internet Small Computer System Interface) Protocol – gives you the same flexibility as a low-cost IP network.
- * Fiber Channel – Servers and storage are connected using a high-speed network of fiber channel switches. This is used in applications where uninterrupted access to data is critical.
What are the Advantages?
There are many advantages to a business of implementing a SAN. The most important of these include:
- * Server capacity is no longer linked to single storage devices.
- * Fiber Channel offers data retrieval at speeds in excess of 5 Gbps.
- * Storage-to-storage data transfer takes place directly from the source to the target device – there is little or no server intervention.
- * Centralized backup means servers view data on local disks, rather than on multiple disk and server connections.
- * Even if a server goes offline for maintenance, or fails completely, there is no disruption to the continuous operation of the network.
Mass Mountain’s Alpine Series SAN systems provide a way for every end user to take advantage of SAN technology. Visit www.massmountain.com to see how we can help you utilize this incredible breakthrough in data storage and retrieval.
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