5 Things You Should Know About Storage Area Network (SAN Storage) - Online Demand
storage area network


Efficient network storage management is crucial for the advancement & efficiency of businesses. Adopting a reliable storage management solution is vital. This helps small businesses optimize server performance, streamline data management, ensure data backup, enhance application availability and effectively prepare for potential disasters. Traditionally, there have been three options for network storage: direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS), and storage area networks (SAN).

Among these options, SAN has gained significant popularity as it enables small businesses to achieve their performance objectives. While SANs were previously associated with larger companies, recent studies indicate that more small businesses are considering their implementation. As the costs of SAN architecture decrease and storage requirements increase, organizations of various sizes are recognizing the value of investing in SAN technology. In this article, you will gain insights into everything from what is storage area network definition to the relevant essential aspects you must know. Let’s dip into the segments below and get all the details.

What is SAN?

SAN is also known as a storage area network. It is a dedicated high-speed network designed to connect data storage devices to larger networks. It enables seamless communication between computer systems by employing SAN switches to connect to storage pools. These storage pools are managed by administrators who allocate logical unit numbers (LUNs). LUNs represent blocks of storage capacity. Apart from facilitating communication between storage devices & computers, SANs offer a range of additional functionalities, including:

  1. Handling application and administrative traffic.
  2. Supporting various network technologies, such as Ethernet and Fibre Channel.
  3. Connecting different types of storage devices, including robotic libraries, RAID subsystems, file servers, and tape and disk drives.

The flexibility of SANs in accommodating diverse storage devices promotes innovation. They drive continuous advancements in digital information processing and storage.

How Storage Area Networks Differ from Direct Attached Storage Networks

Direct Attached Storage (DAS) networks utilize a high-speed interconnect, such as SCSI, to connect their own disk arrays directly to servers. This approach offers cost-effectiveness and optimal performance. It is also suitable for swift access to database applications. For departmental networks and small businesses, DAS can be a viable choice. However, it may not complement well the more complex networks that involve multiple servers.

On the other hand, SAN (Storage Area Network) enables the consolidation of storage across data center solutions. It separates the storage array from the application server. This results in reduced storage requirements. SAN facilitates centralized storage management and allows for the redistribution of storage resources to other servers. By offering enhanced scalability and flexibility, SANs are a valuable solution for organizations with evolving storage needs.

Comparing & Contrasting Storage Area Networks with Network Attached Storage

Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) share some similarities but also have notable differences. Both technologies enable remote access to storage devices through networks. However, they diverge in several aspects:

  1. Server types: SAN storage area network utilizes multipurpose servers, whereas NAS servers are dedicated specifically to storage functions.
  2. Server operating systems: NAS typically relies on proprietary operating systems, while SANs employ open operating systems.
  3. Upgradability: Storage area network is easily upgradeable, whereas NAS upgrades can be complex or even impractical.
  4. Protocols: NAS commonly uses SMB (Server Message Block) and NFS (Network File System) protocols. Whereas SANs support a wider range of protocols including Fibre Channel, Ethernet, and HyperSCSI.
  5. Protocol levels: NAS operates at the file protocol level, where a server with its own file system is connected to a network. Files are divided into packets and directed to the NAS device’s IP address. In contrast, SANs use block protocol, transmitting data in blocks directly to the storage array over a detached high-speed network. SAN application servers host their file systems, eliminating the need for data to pass through another server.

While NAS offers simplicity and easy configuration, it can be prone to overload when multiple servers and clients access it. SANs provide more efficient data transport and enable direct file system hosting on application servers. This enhances performance and eliminates potential bottlenecks associated with NAS systems.

Storage Area Networks and the Cloud

An increasing number of businesses are opting for cloud-based services to store their data, utilizing virtual servers that extend storage capacities beyond their existing infrastructure. Cloud technology providers heavily rely on SAN technology due to its ability to connect numerous servers to storage devices. Unlike SAN systems that are hosted on company servers, cloud storage operates virtually through internet servers.

Moreover, cloud hosting services offer cost-effective solutions, eliminating the need for hardware investments to accommodate increased storage requirements. Companies that are hesitant or financially constrained to invest in additional infrastructure are increasingly embracing cloud storage. Some businesses adopt a hybrid approach. They employ the cloud for archives or low-priority items. And they use SANs for quick and accessible materials, allowing customization to meet practical and budgetary needs.

How Storage Area Networks Can Improve Performance?

Storage area networks offer various advantages to businesses, such as:

Enhanced disk utilization. By centralizing storage through a SAN, resources are utilized more effectively and efficiently.

Disaster recovery (DR). In the event of a disaster, a SAN enables data recovery from multiple applications.

Improved application availability. SAN storage area network array employs data protection algorithms to ensure consistent and accessible data.

Faster backup speed. SAN storage devices generate hardware-based copies of data almost instantly. This facilitates quicker backup processes for large data volumes.


Understanding the key aspects from Storage Area Network definition to types of storage area network & their benefits is essential for businesses. This enables the optimization of network storage management. By leveraging SAN technology, companies can –

  • Improve server performance
  • Simplify data management
  • Ensure data backup
  • Enhance application availability
  • And effectively prepare for potential disasters.

The adoption of SAN architecture is no longer limited to larger organizations. This is because even small businesses are increasingly recognizing its benefits and considering its implementation. Further, the storage demands are continuing to grow and implementation costs are decreasing. Consequently, SAN storage is still a viable and compelling solution for all levels of businesses. By staying informed about the five important aspects of SAN storage discussed in this article, businesses can make informed decisions and leverage this powerful technology. They can then readily drive efficiency and productivity in their operations.

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