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What are the pros and cons of micro-zoning?

Which is better: A zone with 1 HBA and its storage ports or a zone with multiple HBAs on the same host with its storage ports? What are the pros/cons of each?

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Isolating a specific HBA port to a specific storage port in a unique zone, also known as micro-zoning, was an early SAN best practice. One of the main reasons for this was to isolate various HBAs from each other and the associated storage ports. Another reason was to isolate some storage devices from other storage devices and adapters. Interoperability has significantly improved (yes, there is always room for more improvement), and today for the most part, micro-zoning is no longer a requirement for most environments. There are still some vendors who recommend or prefer that you micro-zone ports; however this forces the creation of many zones in a large environment. The advantage of micro-zoning is that you can isolate traffic to specific ports, however also results in more management and number of zones supported on the switch. Using a combination of zoning, volume mapping, and volume masking, you can implement the level of device isolation and security applicable to your environment.

This was first published in July 2004

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