What is the correct denotation of a SAN?

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SAN
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A lot of people speak about a SAN when they mean a Storage Array. Can anyone help me in the correct denotation of the words SAN and Storage Array?

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Ronald,

SAN stands for Storage Area Network and is defined as the network that moves data from hosts to storage (arrays, tape devices, etc.). This is typically a dedicated network (always dedicated in a Fibre Channel SAN, as a best practice in an iSCSI or hybrid SAN). A storage array is one of the storage devices to which a SAN connects hosts, and is usually considered a component of the SAN.

I hope this helps,

Daniel

If you understand LANs, then the best way to understand SANs is to compare the two.

LAN- NICs, Ethernet Cables, Switches, Ethernet Cables, and finally NIC’s at the other end.

SAN- HBA, Fibre Cables, Fibre Switches, Fibre Cables, and finally disks on the other end which actually hold the data.
These disks are packaged together by vendors, and put in large boxes, and called storage arrays.

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  • RonaldBazuin
    Well I was looking at SNIA website and they speak indeed about SAN as only the network and not the Storage Array. Many times a hear people speak about a SAN and then they mean a Storage Array. But in my opinion this is not part of the SAN but connected to the SAN. See also: http://www.snia.org/education/storage_networking_primer/san/what_san
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  • carlosdl
    "But in my opinion this is not part of the SAN but connected to the SAN" I have to disagree. Saying that, is like saying that a computer is connected to a LAN but is not part of it. A SAN without storage devices connected to it, is not a SAN.
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  • Sonotsky
    Ah, the old "the network is the computer" problem. On a LAN, does the network cease to exist because all endpoints have disconnected? No. The network - hubs, switches, routers, MUXes, concentrators, front-ends, whatever - are the network. It's an endpoint that defines its existence on the network (dhcp assignment or static IP) but not the network itself. The network is a resource to be consumed by endpoints, like power from the wall. The power is still there (hopefully) even after you turn off your workstation. However, it's not quite an accurate analogy with a SAN. SANs are typically defined by zones in a zoneset or explicit, direct host-to-storage connections with masking/mapping of WWNs. If nothing is defined or enabled, there is no SAN, regardless if endpoints are physically connected or not; endpoints can't make such a configuration on their own.
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