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Storage area network basics: A SAN quiz

Take our storage area network basics for beginners quiz and test your knowledge of SAN technology.

By Heather Darcy, Managing Editor

Whether or not to purchase a storage area network (SAN) is a difficult choice to make, whether you're a storage administrator at a large Fortune 500 company, or working at a small- to medium-sized business (SMB). There's a lot you need to know about SANs; there's new terminology, and new skills to be learned.

In our quiz on storage area network basics, learn about the most important SAN storage terms, what they mean, and why they're important. Take our quiz, and if you haven't done as well as you've hoped, check out our special section on storage area networks for SMBs.



1. This is a technology for transmitting data between computer devices at data rates of up to 10 Gbps. It is especially suited for connecting computer servers to shared storage devices and for interconnecting storage controllers and drives.

What is it?

2. This is a type of SAN switch that provides features such as storage virtualization, quality of service (QoS), remote mirroring, data sharing, protocol conversion and advanced security. These switches are an important part of storage area management, a methodology that is gaining in importance as networks become increasingly complex and expensive to deploy, operate and maintain.

What is it?

3. This is a general term for several approaches to using the Internet Prototol (IP) in a SAN usually over Gigabit Ethernet. Proponents claim that it offers a number of benefits over Fibre Channel, and will promote the widespread adoption of SANs that was predicted when they were first introduced.

What is it?

4. This type of backup can be conducted through a SAN or with a tape device directly attached to the storage subsystem. Some of the advantages of this type of backup include shorter backup and recovery times and less disruption to other systems and applications.

What is it?

5. This is a transmission technology based on the Ethernet frame format and protocol used in local area networks (LANs). It provides a data rate of 1 billion bits per second (one gigabit).

What is this?

6. Storage networks must partition their physical disks into logical entities so that host servers can access storage area network storage. This term can be used to refer to an entire physical disk, or a subset of a larger physical disk or disk volume.

What is this?

7. This is a is a circuit board and/or integrated circuit adapter that provides input/output (I/O) processing and physical connectivity between a server and a storage device.

What is this?

8. This is a standard designed to enable Fibre Channel communications to run directly over Ethernet. It makes it possible to move Fibre Channel traffic across existing high-speed Ethernet infrastructures and extend the reach and capability of SANs.

What is this?

9. This is an IP-based storage networking standard for linking data storage facilities, developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). These types of SANs are popular in SMBs because they are often easier to set up and less expensive than Fibre Channel SANs.

What is this?

10. This is a method of optimizing the efficiency with which the available space is utilized in SAN. Added benefits of using this include reduced consumption of electrical energy, smaller hardware space requirements and reduced heat generation as compared with traditional networked storage systems.

What is this?

Editor's tip: For even more tips on SANs, check out this SAN basics article on what you need to know before you buy a SAN.

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