SAN devices

So this time I just wanted to share my experiences with SAN devices that I've learned the past year. SAN stands for Storage Area Network and is used for small businesses all the way up to high level enterprise.

Now a SAN device is basically a dumb box with a bunch of hard drives in it and you'll need to connect to another computer/server in order to access the hard drives. This is different than a NAS device, which usually has it's own O/S and can share data on its own.

There are several ways to connect to a SAN device from a server:

  1. SCSI – usually the SAN device has to be near the server and can only be used by that one server.
  2. Fibre – if not connected directly, then it can be plugged into a fibre switch and be located anywhere reachable to the switch. It also can be shared to multiple servers.
  3. ISCSI – all the data pumps over standard ethernet so technically can be furthest away from the source as long as there are no network bottle necks. This can also be shared by multiple servers as well. 

Now, we deal mainly with Fibre attached SAN devices through our Fibre Switch. This benefits us because we can use one SAN device to serve many servers. Currently have a Hitachi AMS 200, Sun Storedge 3510's and 3511's, and a D-link iscsi box. 

The Fibre connected SAN devices have host filtering so that when I share a LUN out, it doesn't get shared to multiple servers and which would cause some disaster.

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