When selecting a SAN vendor, one of my most important decisions is how to reduce my overall IT budget. Selecting a SAN vendor that can boot your heterogeneous operating systems from the SAN will help reduce overall cost. By being able to do this, you can now purchase "thin servers." These servers have CPU and RAM needed for your applications, along with a Fibre Channel board for connectivity to your SAN.
The cost of a thin server is much less than the traditional "thick" server. As your applications change and evolve, the need for more CPU or RAM may be required. It is very cost effective and easy to replace the thin server because all data and OS booting now reside on the SAN. Furthermore, you can reuse the old thin server for other applications that do not require the increase in CPU or RAM, thus enabling a longer server life cycle.
The second savings outside of the servers is the data center itself. Square-foot cost in data centers is always increasing due to air conditioning, power, and security issues. Having thin servers allows more servers to be installed in a standard 19" rack, thus reducing overall space requirements needed in your data center.
One other note: it is always a good idea to have your SAN vendor perform an ROI (Return on Investment) in which you, the customer, provide all the data inputs.
Thanks to Dennis Panella from
This was first published in April 2001