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Storage Area Network

 

A Storage Area Network (SAN) is a high availability device used to interconnect computers and networks to a central repository of data. SAN solutions are usually connected using a fibre based optical connection with varying configurations in terms of storage capacity and redundancy levels.Cloud Computing Hardware

Due to the high-levels of fault tolerance built into a storage area network, SAN’s are usually the devices that the majority of cloud computing providers architect into the network to provide high availability uptime and storage for systems.

Disk drives used within a SAN are stored in an enclosure called a ‘disk array’ with a portion of the storage allocated to redundancy. SAN utilise a RAID (redundant array independent disks) system to provide physical disk redundancy to ensure against mechanical failure with even more fault tolerance provided by standby or clustered SAN’s.

So in summary a storage area network is a central highly fault tolerant interconnected storage device.

If you’re currently investigating storage area network technology below are some of the great benefits a SAN can provide to your IT systems; 

  • Highly redundant
SAN’s are inherently highly redundant fault tolerant systems designed to retain data across multiple disks and devices ensuring your data is fully protected.
  • Independent advice
At Compare the Cloud we hold a database of system integrators and vendors who are able to service any requirement. Let us help you find the right SAN vendor for your needs.
  • From local to network storage
Either within the datacentre or local area network SANs allow for local and server disks to be free of data and be shared amongst users within a highly redundant architecture. 
  • Fibre channels
Fibre based systems perform at incredible speeds allowing for fast transmission of data between interconnected devices improving storage performance throughout your systems.
  • Increased disk utilisation
A SAN delivers access to the same physical disk from a number of servers and devices allowing for efficient allocation of free disks to the network.
  • Consolidation
Without a storage area network, server hardware would need to be procured with multiple disks and compute capacity to try and achieve the levels of redundancy within a SAN. With the introduction of blade servers and a server procurement strategy not reliant on disks you will be able to consolidate systems requiring much less power and space.

When purchasing new storage area network there are always areas of consideration to ensure smooth deployment. To aid your decision we have listed out key points below;

  • Interoperability
Is your SAN system interoperable with other systems or software within your IT systems?
  • Support
What vendor support and installation options are available either directly or through the partner channel? If you’re using a system integrator what levels of support is the vendor offering the partner in terms of high level incident support?
  • I/O performance
I/O throughput is essential to maintaining SAN speed and performance. As you add more devices to the SAN it is essential that I/O performance is measured and reported to ensure long term health of the device. Vendors typically offer I/O operations redundancy with software vendors also providing this service as additional features to many SAN vendors.
  • Budgeting
A storage area network may require intermediate devices such as fibre switch. Always request quotation on any SAN solution clearly listing out all components required for your requirements.
  • Use a Consultant
If budget permits try to engage a storage area network consultant either to design, scope or implement the SAN solution.
At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you get started and to help you identify suitable storage area network vendors and system integrators to evaluate and work with.  Take a few minutes to tell us about your company in our Cloud Comparison Tool, and we’ll present you with some informed options – and help you take full advantage of your storage area network solution.
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