Storage Area Network File System

What Does Storage Area Network File System Mean?

A storage area network file system (SAN File System) is a scalable, SAN-based and highly available file system and storage management solution. It is used to aggregate files and share concurrent data in a multiplatform and open environment. It uses SAN technology, which helps enterprises connect and share multiple heterogeneous computers and storage devices across a high performance network.


A SAN File System is designed on a fiber channel (FC) network and built to offer exceptional input/output (I/O) performance for data sharing between heterogeneous computers. It also offers growth capability and simplified storage administration.

Techopedia Explains Storage Area Network File System

A SAN file system provides a universal namespace to a customer, enabling data production and distribution with the help of uniform file names from any application or client.

Integrity and data consistency are maintained through a SAN file system’s control over distributed locks and lease utilization. A SAN file system provides locks that allow client file access and sharing, as required. To ensure these locks, the maximum time frame required by a metadata server is computed in a lease. To retain the locks, a client must contact the metadata server prior to the lease expiration date. A SAN file system also implements rules and policies for automated file allocation.

Key SAN file system attributes include:

  • Direct data access via SAN technology: A SAN file system uses a data access model that allows client systems to directly gain data access from storage systems with the help of a high bandwidth SAN. This is done without an interposing server.
  • Global namespace: A SAN file system provides an individual, standard and universal namespace view of all system files to all clients. This is implemented by a system administrator, versus manual configuration by clients.
  • File sharing: All clients, regardless of hardware platform or operating system (OS), are given uniform access to stored system data.
  • Data management and policy-based storage: A SAN file system is geared toward simplifying storage-resource management and reducing total cost of ownership (TCO). This occurs via the policy-based automated file placement on proper storage devices.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.