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Building the SAN
Good planning and vendor selection leads to a smooth migration to a SAN environment. However, the most often overlooked--and most misunderstood--aspect of SAN deployment is data migration. How do you get the data out from "behind the servers" and into the SAN? There are many approaches to this problem, and most enterprises choose to employ more than one. Some options include the following:

  • Host-based copying applications, like Microsoft's Robust File Copy (Robocopy), or cpio and tar on Unix systems remain popular.
  • Vendor-supplied data migration tools, which may leverage features of the storage array, can be tempting, but the additional professional services and licensing costs should be considered.
  • Phased rehosting of applications on new servers is a smooth and seamless way to implement a SAN if servers are being migrated anyway.
  • Backup and restore of application data is another popular method, but this can interfere with daily schedules and reveal deficiencies in the backup system.
Learning from experience
SAN technology has come a long way in just the last few years; storage vendors are starting to make their products more user-friendly and flexible. With the introduction of IP-based technologies and vendor attention to integration standards, SANs are now more affordable for the midsized

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enterprise than ever before.

With easy implementation and low acquisition cost, the total cost of ownership for SAN technology is at a level that makes sense for nearly every IT shop. With demands on application availability, capacity scalability and performance constantly increasing, the question is no longer if your company can afford a SAN but how can you afford to be without one?

This was first published in September 2007

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