What is a SAN, anyway?

SANs are dedicated, centrally managed and secure information infrastructures that are built around multiple servers and disk arrays. They connect via Fibre Channel or other high-speed links that allow for connection of almost unlimited heterogeneous systems and peripherals.

SAN architectures are redundant'if one server fails, other failover application servers can still access storage. They can perform round-the-clock data backup and restore tasks at high speeds without involving host CPU cycles.

Allocate storage

Virtualization of disk and host resources allow excess storage capability to be allocated where it is needed, as opposed to being available only to directly attached servers.

These features, in addition to the efficiencies of pooling data resources across the enterprise, can save money.

According to IBM Corp. and other sources, key factors in the growth of SAN technology include:
  • the growth of e-commerce, whereby the need to expedite the transfer of goods, services and information via the Internet is exploding

  • globalization, or the extension of IT services across national boundaries

  • zero latency, or the need to exchange information immediately

  • transformation, or the ability to immediately adapt to new situations based on the ability to access and process huge amounts of data.

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