✓ Greater performance: Current Fibre Channel SANs allow connection to disks at hundreds of megabytes per second; the near future will see speeds in multiple gigabytes to terabytes per second.
✓ Increased disk utilization: SANs enable more than one server to access the same physical disk, which lets you allocate the free space on those disks more effectively.
✓ Higher availability to storage by use of multiple access paths: A SAN allows for multiple physical connections to disks from a single or multiple servers.
✓ Deferred disk procurement: That’s business-speak for not having to buy disks as often as you used to before getting a SAN. Because you can use disk space more effectively, no space goes to waste.
✓ Reduced data center rack/floor space: Because you don’t need to buy big servers with room for lots of disks, you can buy fewer, smaller servers — an arrangement that takes up less room.
✓ New disaster-recovery capabilities: This is a major benefit. SAN devices can mirror the data on the disks to another location. This thorough backup capability can make your data safe if a disaster occurs.
✓ Online recovery: By using online mirrors of your data in a SAN device, or new continuous data protection solutions, you can instantly recover your data if it becomes lost, damaged, or corrupted.
✓ Better staff utilization: SANs enable fewer people to manage much more data.
✓ Reduction of management costs as a percentage of storage costs: Because you need fewer people, your management costs go down.
✓ Improved overall availability: This is another big one. SAN storage is much more reliable than internal, server-based disk storage. Things break a lot less often.
✓ Reduction of servers: You won’t need as many file servers with a SAN. And because SANs are so fast, even your existing servers run faster when connected to the SAN. You get more out of your current servers and don’t need to buy new ones as often.
✓ Improved network performance and fewer network upgrades: You can back up all your data over the SAN (which is dedicated to that purpose) rather than over the LAN (which has other duties). Since you use less bandwidth on the LAN, you can get more out of it.
✓ Increased input/output (I/O) performance and bulk data movement: Yup, SANs are fast. They move data much faster than do internal drives or devices attached to the LAN. In high-performance computing environments, for example, IB (Infiniband) storage-network technology can move a single data stream at multiple gigabytes per second.
✓ Reduced/eliminated backup windows: A backup window is the time it takes to back up all your data. When you do your backups over the SAN instead of over the LAN, you can do them at any time, day or night. If you use CDP (Continuous Data Protection) solutions over the SAN, you
can pretty much eliminate backup as a separate process (it just happens all the time).
✓ Protected critical data: SAN storage devices use advanced technology to ensure that your critical data remains safe and available.
✓ Nondisruptive scalability: Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It means you can add storage to a storage network at any time without affecting the devices currently using the network.
✓ Easier development and testing of applications: By using SAN-based mirror copies of production data, you can easily use actual production data to test new applications while the original application stays online.
✓ Support for server clusters: Server clustering is a method of making two individual servers look like one and guard each other’s back. If one of them has a heart attack, the other one takes over automatically to keep the applications running. Clusters require access to a shared disk drive;
a SAN makes this possible.
✓ Storage on demand: Because SAN disks are available to any server in the storage network, free storage space can be allocated on demand to any server that needs it, any time. Storage virtualization can simplify storage provisioning across storage arrays from multiple vendors.