While storage area networks (SANs) have long been popular among larger companies, today small and medium businesses are also reaping the benefits of such storage architecture.
Put simply, a SAN is a network of shared storage devices. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the data transfer between computer systems and storage devices, typically a disk array or tape drive/library. A SAN provides a framework for IT managers to attach remote computer storage devices to servers in such a way that the devices appear to be locally attached.
Despite the growth of SANs, many businesses still have older architecture where storage disks are attached to a single server. While this can be a cost-effective short-term solution for businesses with a basic set-up and minimal IT resources, it can be a false economy as data and storage demands increase. Many problems arise as the business grows including:
- As you add staff, users who have no access to this server will not be able to retrieve the data.
- As you add more servers, direct attached storage architecture can become an issue due to the complexity of accessing all the storage devices for server maintenance and data backup.
- Direct attach storage does not allow the sharing of storage capacity with devices attached to other servers. Think of the complicated process of having to access one computer for customer information, another for billing and yet another for inventory.
- The added maintenance requirements, unscheduled downtime and cumbersome backup processes can ultimately create more unbudgeted additional expense.
The major benefit of SAN storage is that any server can use any available storage device. SAN storage provides opportunities for centralised backup, disaster recovery via replication and increasing the security of your critical data. All of this can be achieved with a SAN at a much lower total cost of ownership than direct attach storage.
In today’s environment of exploding data growth, strict privacy laws and mission-critical IT systems, direct attach storage will no longer cut it for growing businesses.
If you would like to arrange a free and confidential discussion on our Data Storage Management Services for your organisation please contact us.