Keep your SANs from crashing

Learn how to configure SANs for high availability.

What you will learn from this tip: How to configure SANs for high availability.


For high availability, SAN storage can be configured for access by servers with cluster failover capabilities. How you do this depends on your specific storage environment. For example, using Microsoft-based operating systems, servers can be configured for failover and SAN storage access using clustering software from Microsoft or third-party independent software vendors (ISV). For Novell Netware environments, you could use the Novell Clustering Services software to enable server failover. There are also clustering and failover solutions for other operating system environments, including Linux, HP HP-UX, IBM AIX and Sun Solaris.

In addition to server failover, server cluster configurations can include path failover and management of host adapters. This allows standard servers to utilize redundant SAN access paths.

Path management software is available from many different vendors for different platforms. To configure your SAN storage to be accessed by different servers, you must:

  • Make sure that any zones are set up properly.
  • Configure LUN masking and mapping.
  • Ensure that failover software knows which SAN LUNs and volumes to access.
  • Make sure that the failover software recognizes appropriate restart and adapter path assignments.
For more information:

Tip: How to document a SAN

Advice: HBA-to-server ratio for high availability

Tip: Troubleshooting your SAN (more or less) painlessly


About the author: Greg Schulz is a senior analyst with the independent storage analysis firm, The Evaluator Group Inc. Greg has 25 years of IT experience as a consultant, end user, storage and storage networking vendor, and industry analyst. In addition, Greg is the author and illustrator of "Resilient Storage Networks". Greg holds both a computer science and software engineering degree from the University of St. Thomas.
This was first published in October 2004

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