14 Features of Storage Area Network (SAN) You Should Know

Last Updated - December 19, 2019
Features of Storage Area Network
Features of Storage Area Network

SAN or Storage Area Network is becoming a popular data storage solution in the world. A lot of organizations are getting to implement SAN for managing their data. Back in the days, it was an expensive data storage system. However, nowadays, both the cost and the complexity of setting up a SAN has reduced to a greater extent. Now, if you also want to use SAN, you should get familiar with it at first.

In short, SAN is a shared block-level data storage solution that uses fiber optics and switches to connect the storage devices to the servers. You will need only a few things like a server, storage devices, switches, fiber optic cables, SAN management software, etc. to set up a SAN (Storage Area Network). To know more about SAN, you can read the rest of this post. As we are going to share a few common features of Storage Area Network down below.

So, let’s get started…

List of the Features of Storage Area Network (SAN)

1. Scalability

If you are in need of a scalable storage networking system, you should definitely look into SAN. In a Storage Area Network, it is very easy to add or remove storage devices. So, if you want to scale up or down the storage space in your system, it is very easy. Besides, all the servers will run without any interruption while you are adding or removing storage devices.

Matter of fact, you will not need to reboot or stop the servers at all. Thus, all the applications and the servers will be up and running even if you are scaling up or down the storage space in the background. It is almost a seamless process. So, a SAN would be a great choice if you prefer scalability.

2. High-end Security

Security is one of the most essential parts of a storage network system. You cannot compromise there. Interestingly, SAN has great security features. If you want you can even isolate the members, users, and accounts using a virtual SAN.

So, one cannot access the area of others without authorization. SAN also comes with some other security protocols like ACL, SCSI, etc. All of these security measures make SAN one of the best storage networking systems.

3. High Uptime

SAN is also known for its high uptime. As you don’t have to reset or stop the servers frequently, you can expect industry-standard uptime using a SAN. No need to worry about sudden crash or downtime. Thus, the whole network will be almost always up.

4. Ultra-Fast Data Transfer

While other technology like NAS (Network-attached Storage), or DAS (Direct-attached Storage) uses typical data transfer equipment, SAN, on the other hand, uses fiber optic cables. As a result, you will be able to transfer data up to 5 Gbps speed. As a result, it has become one of the fastest storage networking systems at the moment.

5. Improved Disk Utilization

All of the storage disks on a SAN would be connected to using a centralized network. Thus, even though there are multiple disk drives on the network, all of them will be recognized as a single unit. And, you can also use them separately whenever you need it.

As a result, you have more superior control over the whole network. In that regard, you can also manage the storage devices at the neural level. Then you can also assign any particular storage disks to any particular server as you want to. Thus, SAN has a better and improved disk utilization system.

6. Easy and High-Speed Backup

Typically, SAN is equipped with a centralized backup system. It also uses ‘Dynamic Snapshots’ technology. This feature has to do with backing up data faster. Again, with the help of the centralized backup system is great for dynamic data backup.

For instance, if a server or a disk storage device stops working suddenly, the centralized backup system will take over and the entire network will work as usual without interruption. And, all these processes are automatic. So, you won’t have to set them up every time or one by one. Also, as the backup happens almost in real-time, you won’t have to wait for a long time.

7. Dynamic Failover Protection

A Storage Area Network is also equipped with dynamic failover protection. On top of this, it also comes with better redundancy and real-time traffic rerouting feature as well. Thus, whenever anything bad happens to the network, it will reroute the traffics to a stable network or server.

Again, in the instances of server maintenance, the dynamic failover protection will come in handy. The system will automatically manage the situation. Thus, your system will almost always be up. As a result, you will not lose any traffics as well as revenue.

8. Failproof Disaster Recovery

Disasters can come at you anytime. In this case, prevention is better than cure. However, you can never prepare so good for one. For those unexpected times, you will love the disaster recovery feature of a Storage Area Network. There are various types of measures you can implement for disaster recovery on a SAN.

However, most of them are pretty expensive. If you set up a disaster recovery system in your SAN, you will be able to recover the data with ease from the backup system. Again, the disaster recovery system can also be used as a backup network system in the time of server downtime or storage disk crash.

9. Data Deduplication

Data storage devices are expensive. So, it is not wise to add new storage devices frequently. So, what can you do when your storage is running out? Interestingly, if you are using a SAN (Storage Area Network) you will have a feature called Data Deduplication. It works in two ways such as Post-Process, and inline.

Here, the post-process function will work after the data is written to the disk. It will search all of the data for any duplicates. When it will find any duplicate blocks of data, it will automatically remove them.

On the other hand, the inline process works like a filter. It will automatically remove any duplicated data even before the data is written to the disks. Whatever method you use, the reduplication feature can help to minimize the size of the storage disks from 50% to 90%.

10. Dynamic Tiering

Another great feature of a Storage Area Network is dynamic tiering. It is a process in which you can transfer and move data between defend storage tiers without interrupting the network. There will also be no application or host outages while you are mobbing the data. That is why it is a great feature for improving disk utilization.

11. Thin Provisioning

The ‘Thin Provisioning’ feature is also known as ‘Dynamic Provisioning’. This is also a great feature of SAN. With the help of this feature, you will be able to virtualize the storage disks. As a result, you can allocate a lot more storage space than how much you have physically in your SAN.

That means, you can over-allocate storage space and it will allow you to use as much storage as you have physically on the network. Because of this feature, you won’t waste free storage space anymore.

12. Application Access

With a SAN, you will be able to access the data via particular applications that are connected/installed on the networked servers.

13. Longer Distance Network

SAN is compatible with different types of network protocols like FCP, iSCSI, FC-NVMe, FCoE, etc. Thus, it is perfect for a data center or spanning the network over a longer distance.

14. Simplifying Data Management

You can manage data on a SAN very efficiently. This is because you can automate a lot of tasks in the system. Also, all the data are available at block-level, so you can assign different users or accounts to different blocks as you like.

Summing it up:

We tried to compile a list of some of the common features of a Storage Area Network above. However, you should keep in mind that, you might not see all these features in any particular SAN. This is because some of these features are totally optional.

Thus, the organization that uses that particular SAN might not be interested in using a few of these features. Then again, a high-end SAN should come with all these features discussed above. We hope, after reading this post, you will have a clearer and detailed idea about SAN (Storage Area Network) and its features.

So, do you use a SAN or thinking about going with one? You can let us know in the comments down below!