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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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