5 Ways Storage Area Network Enhances Data Storage Efficiency

SAN is a distinctive network structure that allows for the centralised storage and retrieval of data for numerous servers or hosts. A storage area network is specifically created to offer fast, scalable, and dependable entry to storage resources like disk arrays, tape libraries, or solid-state drives (SSDs), by means of a dedicated network. Storage devices are linked to a network fabric that comprises switches, routers, and additional components of network infrastructure. This material enables communication between storage devices and servers, enabling multiple servers to simultaneously share and access storage resources.

In this blog, we will look at 5 ways storage area networks enhance data storage efficiency.

1. Provides Centralised Storage

A storage area network utilises a distinct infrastructure that is independent from the local area network (LAN) typically used for general data communication. The network is usually built using Fibre Channel or iSCSI protocols, which provide fast data transfer, minimal delay, and dependable connection. The storage network comprises various storage devices like disk arrays, tape libraries, or solid-state drives (SSDs). These devices are linked to the storage network infrastructure, consisting of switches and routers that enable communication between servers and storage devices.

SANs offer the ability to manage resources from a central location. Administrators have the ability to centrally monitor and manage the storage infrastructure using a console or management software. This enables effective allocation, surveillance, and resolution of storage resources across numerous servers.

2. Provisioning and Storage Virtualization

Provisioning and storage virtualization play significant roles in storage area networks, enhancing their ability to effectively manage storage resources with increased flexibility and efficiency.

  • Storage provisioning is the act of assigning storage capacity to servers or applications according to their specific needs. SANs provide advanced features for provisioning, enabling administrators to allocate and govern storage resources dynamically, based on the requirements.
  • Storage virtualization is a crucial aspect of SANs that allows for the abstraction of physical storage resources, presenting them to servers as logical units. It offers a simplified way of managing storage and improves adaptability by introducing an abstraction layer.
SANDesigned specifically for rapid data exchange and minimal delay, this advanced technology boasts impressive processing capabilities.
NASThe processing power of this storage solution is not as high as that of a SAN. It is specifically created for the purpose of storing and sharing files at a file-level.
DASIt has less computing power compared to SAN, and it is specifically designed for storing and accessing data locally.
CLOUD STORAGEThe processing capacity differs based on the cloud provider and the terms outlined in the service level agreement.
OBJECT STORAGEThe processing capacity of an object storage provider differs based on the chosen service level agreement.

3. Raid Configurations and Snapshots

RAID setups are often utilised in storage area networks for enhanced data redundancy, heightened performance, and expanded storage capabilities. RAID improves the reliability and availability of data by merging multiple physical disks into a single logical array.

Snapshots in SANs refer to copies of data at a specific moment, capturing the current state of a storage volume or logical unit. They offer a convenient solution for backup creation, data recovery, and the implementation of data protection plans. The COW technique is commonly used to implement snapshots. When an image is captured, the initial data remains unaltered, and any subsequent modifications are saved in distinct blocks. This enables the snapshot to record the data’s condition during its creation, with minimal effects on performance and storage capacity.

4. Scalability

SANs offer a smooth solution for expanding storage capacity. You can seamlessly incorporate more storage devices into the SAN infrastructure without causing any disturbances to the current operations. This growth may include increasing the number of disk drives in current storage arrays, incorporating new storage arrays into the SAN network, or incorporating cloud-based storage options. 

SAN scalability encompasses more than just storage capacity. Furthermore, it includes performance scalability to guarantee the SAN’s ability to manage greater workloads and meet higher data access requirements. SANs efficiently allocate data access requests among various storage devices, ensuring an even distribution of workload to avoid any potential performance issues. This feature ensures consistent high performance despite growing amounts of data traffic.

5. High-Speed Interconnects

Storage area networks usually utilise fast interconnections to offer quick and dependable connectivity between servers and storage devices. These fast connections guarantee effective transmission of data and cater to the rigorous needs of storage network environments. Fibre Channel for an example is a specialised storage networking protocol intended for fast transmission of data. This technology employs fibre optic cables to transfer data at varying speeds between 2 Gbps and 128 Gbps, ensuring minimal delays and ample bandwidth. Fibre Channel facilitates long-range connections and allows for the establishment of expansive infrastructures comprising numerous switches and devices.

Key Takeaways

SAN is an effective and adaptable option for centralised storage in corporate settings. Storage networks provide a wide range of advantages, such as improved storage efficiency, simplified administration, enhanced data security, and the ability to easily scale up.