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SAN isolation
FC director vendors offer a number of techniques to mitigate those risks by isolating SANs logically while connecting them physically:

Fibre Channel director pros and cons

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  • Cisco's Virtual SANs (VSANs) and InterVSAN Routing
  • Brocade's Logical SAN (LSANs)
  • McData's hard partitioning
Cisco delivers VSAN and InterVSAN routing capabilities as part of the MDS 9506 and 9509 core SAN-OS; these technologies differ in at least three ways from other vendor's implementations.
  1. VSANs may be configured using any combination of ports on any line cards on one of their directors. Because SAN growth and consolidations are more haphazard than well-planned, VSANs give users the flexibility to plug their servers and storage devices into whatever FC ports are available. Once connected, users can then design their VSANs around the ports they're plugged into vs. trying to re-architect port connectivity on the director every time the environment is reorganized.


  2. Each VSAN can be set up with its own administrator. As SANs merge, internal and external policies and politics may dictate that certain administrators retain the right to control and manage their segment of the SAN.


  3. InterVSAN routing allows specific devices in one VSAN to be exposed and used by devices in another VSAN. For example, if the administrator of the finance VSAN needs additional storage capacity and the engineering VSAN administrator has some capacity available, finance can access it without compromising the integrity of either VSAN. It's done by simply sharing ports using InterVSAN routing without allowing access to every device in the VSAN.


This was first published in February 2006

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