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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Storage Area Network (SAN)

Darren McLaughlin
asked this on June 06, 2011 11:30

Using storage area network (SAN) to store data is becoming increasingly popular. Backups are always a primary concern for anyone entrusted with guarding sensitive data. A majority of people in need of backups look for the similar features when it comes to searching out which backup solutions they're interested in. As network architectures have become more complex, storage area network schemes have arisen. Storage area network, or SAN, refers to a set-up that allows the connection of remote storage devices to backup servers so that operating systems can access these devices, as if it was native hardware. Therein lies the big advantage of a properly optimized and configure storage area network: speed. Since the application can use the SAN as in a similar manner to a local hard drive, backups become more intuitive and faster to perform. Modern storage area networks are designed specifically for high performance and high availability. These systems offer a number of advantages. Advantages for using Storage Area Network (SAN)for backing up your data:

  • Your data is backed up according to automation rules you set. This way it's possible for your IT department to set the exact policies they want across your network, and your SAN monitoring software will implement your policies automatically. For anyone running a complex network, this can be a real blessing.
  • Scalability of your data backups is ensured. Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions can be easily scaled in a live-time environment.

The primary disadvantage of using SAN for your backup needs is price. This type of storage option costs more than alternatives, which could impede adoption. The decision to implement a SAN or not is often simply a matter of calculating Total Cost of Ownership. In some cases, it costs a lot to implement, but ends up saving companies money once in use. Other disadvantages of Storage Area Networks:

  • SAN's are not always easy to integrate with existing technology. This can cause an issue for those who are considering a switch.
  • SAN storage can be overkill in some cases. This is not a 'one-size fits all solution.' Much of the decision on whether a Storage Area Network will be uses or not will boil down to how it will be used.
  • Management complexity is added by using SAN. Your job might end up being harder because you implemented a storage area network than if you have picked an alternative.

As more companies adopt SAN in coming years, it's likely the costs for implementation will drop. If the cost is lowered significantly, it's likely using SAN will become common.