Information is the lifeblood of an organization. Businesses must be able to access unchanging information quickly and be able to protect it from outside threats. Storage Area Networks are a way for businesses to manage their information effectively and efficiently.
A Storage Area Network (SAN) is a dedicated network that connects a company’s servers to their data. SANs are an alternative to Direct Attached Storage (DAS), where a digital storage system (a data storage device) is directly attached to a server and Network Attached Storage (NAS), where a file server is connected to an entity’s local area network.
The term, “islands of information” is a term used to describe more traditional data storage and access methods. Separate servers accessing separate databases, required separate storage management and could lead to data contamination, because different users had access to the same information, stored in different locations.
“Islands of information” require more equipment and management, reduce security and make disaster recovery more difficult. Disks and tape drives attached to one server cannot be accessed by other systems, leading to inefficient use of resources. Companies utilizing this method of data storage found they needed to purchase more capacity, even though capacity was available in other segments of their network.
Storage Area Networks utilize Fibre Channel, which is a high-speed network technology. Fibre Channel was originally used for super computing but now is the primary connection type for Storage Area Networks. Fibre Channel signaling can run over twisted pair copper wire or fiber optic cable. When established, any server in the fabric can communicate with any storage device in the SAN.
The benefits of Storage Area Networks are:
Storage is independent of computer applications and accessible through multiple data paths, for improved availability, reliability and serviceability. Remote data facilitates disaster protection and protects against malicious attacks.
Storage Area Networks support disk mirroring (creating multiple copies of the same data), backup and restoration, archival and retrieval, data migration from one storage device to another and data sharing between different servers.
If your company has multiple locations and shares a large amount of sensitive data a Storage Area Network is something you should consider implementing. If you have questions about the technology or would like to receive pricing and service information, please complete the form on the right side of the page and include “Storage Area Networks” in the Type of Service field.