Q

The many benefits of a SAN, Part 1

We are about to implement a SAN solution. We want to know if there will be benefits from connecting Microsoft terminal services and proxy servers to the SAN?

From our side, we believe that we have to connect only applications that generate important data and need to be stored on a storage media like SAN/NAS and no need for any applications that needs only processing power from the server and do not generate valuable data like DNS, terminal services, DHCP, Proxy, etc.
You should enroll in Lesson 1 of the SearchStorage.com " SAN School." Lesson 1 was taken from Chapter 1 of my book " Storage Area Networks for Dummies" from Wiley publishing.

Here are some excerpts that may be helpful to you:

SANs aren't for everyone. If you own a small business and need just a few computers to keep your business going, using a FC SAN is probably overkill for you. Sometimes the cost isn't justified by the benefits. The more servers that you have in your organization and the more data that you need to store, the more benefit you will see from a using a SAN. Storage networking equipment is still fairly expensive. A single host bus adapter can cost over one thousand dollars, and the need for storage switches just add to the cost.

A good guideline that I use is what I call The Rule of 16. If you have 16 or fewer servers, using a SAN probably doesn't make sense. You can easily manage 16 or fewer servers with one person, and data storage needs shouldn't be that high. If you use more than 16 servers, or servers that run large databases, you're a good candidate for a SAN. If you have hundreds of servers that you're responsible for, then using a SAN will make your life much easier, and most likely dramatically reduce the cost of managing data.

You know you don't need a SAN if three or more of the following issues apply to you.

* You're not running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to fix problems that constantly pop up. (I call this fire fighting.)

* You currently have more than enough disk space in your servers.

* Your servers are operating at peak performance and no one is complaining.

* You never have to go out and buy servers because you're running out of disk space.

* Floor space is not an issue for you; you have plenty of room for growth.

* Your storage needs don't seem to be growing very much on an annual basis.

* You're not experiencing outages because of storage-related issues.

* You run mostly Web applications, and the information is mostly static.

* No regulations force you to keep years' worth of data available online.

* Your backups are running fine, and you have plenty of time to complete them.

* You have a good disaster recovery plan, and all your data will be safe if a disaster occurs that wipes out everything within 100 miles of your production site.

If most of the items listed above are true, then installing a SAN is probably overkill for you.

Click here for Part 2.
This was first published in December 2003

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