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SAN

SAN History & Plumbing

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Storage Area Networks

I've just started digging into SCSI transport in specific and Storage Area Networks in general. I've produced a SAN History & Plumbing seminar in-house, an extract from the larger text, where I describe my understanding of SANs to-date. Most of this material is derived from what I learned from seminars given by Howard Goldstein and Jacob Farmer.

The Driver for Storage Management

Storage Management exists because customers want more tools to manage space, to better utilize this asset.

The Key to Storage Management Success

Virtualization, aka indirection. When one host is attached to one disk, our choices are limited. But once we abstract the connection between host and disk, all sorts of capabilities arise:

  • Transparent growth and shrinkage of space
  • Transparent improvement in performance
  • Transparent reduction in MTBF
  • Transparent increase in number of clients

This is where storage area management technologies spend their energy and their complexity: implementing one (or more!) layers of indirection between the application and the disk.

This indirection can be implemented in the disk, in the host, in the network out-of-band, in the network-in-band ... there are many ways to do this.

Diagrams

Educational Links

Free Software


Last modified: 2017-04-28