Storage Area Network Architecture

What Does Storage Area Network Architecture Mean?

Storage area network (SAN) architecture refers to the logical layout of a SAN infrastructure.

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This architecture defines:

  • How the SAN is logically created
  • Components used
  • Data storage and retrieval frameworks
  • Device/host interconnectivity
  • Other parameters/components essential for a SAN

Techopedia Explains Storage Area Network Architecture

There are two types of SAN architecture, storage-centric SAN architecture and network-centric SAN architecture.

A SAN generally consists of three core components; therefore, SAN architecture is composed of:

  • Hosts: These are the system/end devices that use the SAN services. This can include servers and computers on the network.
  • Fabric: This consists of the interfaces such as fiber channel and host bus adapter that enable connectivity between the hosts and SAN infrastructure.
  • Storage: This is the physical storage drives.

Typically, SAN architecture defines:

  • Pool of storage used and how it is shared in between different servers or computers connected via the network
  • Type of network or data transmission connection used between the key SAN infrastructure and all connecting nodes
  • Placement of data depending upon the type of SAN architecture or topology
  • Type of SAN topology being used

SAN architecture also includes SAN management applications and the overall data storage, consumption and retrieval policy that governs the SAN’s resources.

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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.