SANs Solved the Data Sharing Problem

Chad Underwood
3 min readAug 2, 2022

SANs were created to solve data shares.

In the old days, a server would host its own storage. As tech has progressed, application reliability became as issue. When your data and application is on 1 server it becomes a problem fast. IT needed a way for the data to be shared among many servers.

And the SAN was born.

Photo by imgix on Unsplash

You wouldn’t have a SAN in your house, but you use them every day.

SANs are in data centers. Storage Area network (SAN) is a server or set of servers connected to provide shared storage. A SAN can contain thousands of host servers and storage devices.

Every company with an application uses a SAN.

Why they’re needed

SANs help a company’s storage resources be centralized, reliable, and flexible.

The flexibility for companies comes from being able to add more storage as needed without changing anything already setup. The reliability comes from application servers being able to access the same data no matter when it was last updated. Since the components of a SAN are connected the data ends up being centralized.

This is why a SAN is most important part of any company’s network.

Storage connected together

Devices in a SAN connect to one another via a network.

This network is different from the network in your house allowing you to connect your computers to share files or printers. SANs have their own connections and protocols.

There’s 3 connections used to connect to a SAN

  • Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) — FCP is the most used connection protocol. It uses a Fiber Channel (think fiber optics) connection to send data between all the devices.
    It has speeds up to 16 Gbps (gigabits per second). FC considered more secure than TCP/IP (the type of network you have in your house).
  • iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) — iSCSI is a protocol allowing data packets to be delivered of the TCP/IP network. It still offers the same type of storage FCP allows. This allows the data to be sent over the internet.
    iSCSI is becoming more prevalent because network speeds are getting so…

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Chad Underwood

American writer sharing experiences in life, writing, technology, and content creation.