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What Is a Storage Area Network?

Storage area networks (SANs) are the most common storage networking architecture used by enterprises for business-critical applications that need to deliver high throughput and low latency. A rapidly growing portion of SAN deployments leverages all-flash storage to gain its high performance, consistent low latency, and lower total cost when compared to spinning disk. By storing data in centralized shared storage, SANs enable organizations to apply consistent methodologies and tools for data protection, security, and disaster recovery.

A SAN is a block-based storage, leveraging a high-speed architecture that connects servers to their logical disk units (LUNs). A LUN is a range of blocks provisioned from a pool of shared storage and presented to the server as a logical disk. The server partitions and formats those blocks—typically with a file system—so that it can store data on the LUN just as it would on local disk storage.

SANs make up about two-thirds of the total networked storage market. They are designed to remove single points of failure, making SANs highly available and resilient. A well-designed SAN can easily withstand multiple components or device failures.

SAN Use Cases

Storage area networks are frequently deployed in support of business-critical, performance-sensitive applications such as:

  • Oracle databases. These are frequently business-critical and require the highest performance and availability.
  • Microsoft SQL Server databases. Like Oracle databases, MS SQL Server databases commonly store an enterprise’s most valuable data, so they require the highest performance and availability.
  • Large virtualization deployments using VMware, KVM, or Microsoft Hyper-V. These environments often extend to thousands of virtual machines running a broad range of operating systems and applications, with different performance requirements. Virtualized environments concentrate on many applications, so infrastructure reliability becomes even more important because a failure can cause multiple application outages.
  • Large virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs). These environments serve virtual desktops to large numbers of an organization’s users. Some VDI environments can easily number in the tens of thousands of virtual desktops. By centralizing the virtual desktops, organizations can more easily manage data protection and data security.
  • SAP or other large ERP or CRM environments. SAN architectures are ideal for enterprise resource planning and customer resource management workloads.


It is stressful when one has to keep emailing a certain document in order to collaborate a certain report, especially because this ends up creating a lot of clone copies of the said document. However, when using a NAS device, documents are available from one central location to be easily accessed by anyone.

If you are interested in having a SAN or NAS or even VDI, contact us to find out more today!

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