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Free yourself from the hardware

The solution that will ease the pains associated with building a SAN is to choose management software wisely.

Free yourself from the hardware
Robert Friskney

When in the conceptualization stage of any SAN implementation, there are basic questions that need to be addressed. First off, can you define SAN in practical terms? What does it mean to your company, and what are the administration resourses necessary to manage the components that will ultimately be the framework of the SAN? Some people suggest standardizing on a specific switch or HBA when designing a SAN. But is this a realistic approach for those who build their SAN infrastructure with components from companies that may face extinction?

The solution that will ease the pain associated with building a SAN with products that will inevitably see their end of life is to make sure the management software allows the components to cohabitate regardless of their make, model, or age. Heterogeneity is the buzzword in the SAN industry today; however, companies few and far between are actually building solutions that can deliver on this promise.

Be aware that simply connecting storage to your app server via a fibre channel connection does not constitute a SAN deployment. The true SAN allows for the ease of managing storage assets across an array of hardware components--the promise of never having to physically add spindles to servers, which in turn increases MTBF. A SAN should be able to allow all hardware to turn into commodity gear--always allowing the implementation of today's "best of breed" components regardless of the manufacturer.

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