Zoning is a powerful, flexible method for dividing up a SAN and assigning its devices. However, zoning is only part of the overall schema for structuring a SAN. ANSI standards actually define a hierarchy of organization within a zoned SAN, starting with the member devices and leading up to the zone set.

Logically, zone sets are a step above zones. That is, a zone set is composed of zones, which are composed of members -- devices such as switches and disk arrays. While a SAN can have many zone sets, only one zone set -- often consisting of multiple zones -- can be active at a time. In most installations, however, zone sets can be changed without bringing down the SAN. Although the SAN doesn't have to be shut down to change zone sets, the SAN should be idle when the zone set is actually changed.

For SAN managers, the major advantage of using zone sets is flexibility. Zones can be members of different zone sets for different purposes, such as backup and dynamic reconfiguration. They can also be used for testing and maintenance of some of the devices in the SAN without affecting the other devices.

The

    Requires Free Membership to View

Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) Web site has a number of white papers discussing zone sets and their uses; among them are "An Introduction to Zoning" by McData and "Zoning: The Key To Flexible SAN Management."

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.


This was first published in July 2002

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.