Soft zoning is the use of World Wide Names (WWNs) to allocate resources and control access in a storage-area network (SAN).
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With soft zoning, device assignments can be changed to respond to the varying demands of servers in the network. In comparison, hard zoning uses switch port numbers to set up the zone and each device in the SAN is assigned a permanent zone.
Soft zoning should be used when flexibility is an important factor and security can be ensured by cooperating hosts but isn't necessarily a paramount issue.