SANs already contain many points of complexity. Compatibility matrices require SAN administrators to double check HBA driver and firmware levels before doing even the most basic tasks. Storage arrays come and go from storage networks, necessitating that HBAs be reconfigured to discover the new logical unit number (LUN) assignments on the arrays. And as data continues to grow, LUNs must be allocated, so server reboots become mandatory for some operating systems in order for their HBA to discover these new LUNs.
With so many other administrative tasks, the last thing a SAN administrator needs is a long HBA to-do list. HBAs continue to improve, but SAN administrators can't assume that even the newest HBA will resolve all their existing issues or work in their environment. Each vendor's HBA comes with its own set of considerations that administrators must evaluate before looking to deploy and maintain.
The next generation of HBAs offers some features that shops
|Finding the right HBA|
This was first published in July 2003