You can’t buy a SAN (I feel a rant coming on)

Warning, rant follows…

I have a problem with referring to a storage array as a SAN as seems commonplace these days. SAN is Storage Area Network. Storage array <> SAN <> RAID <> LUN, but all are related. For clarification, storage arrays, which live in a SAN, typically provide access to LUNs that are often created using RAID technologies to provide data protection.

Everyone has (or at least most of you have) been using SAN and storage array interchangably for years now and that’s not right. I think that the storage vendors are really to blame. When the concept of SANs were introduced, many viewed them as complex, difficult to design/create, and difficult to install. I believe that the storage vendors started selling storage arrays as “SANs” to make them easier to buy and install. I admit that the tools for managing SAN environments have improved to allow a single interface to handle switch zoning, LUN allocation, visualization of the storage configuration and performance monitoring. Technically, putting a storage switch inside a cabinet that includes a storage array does not a SAN make, though many vendors are offering products in that easy-to-buy format these days. Continue reading “You can’t buy a SAN (I feel a rant coming on)”