1.2 Why Are SANs Needed?

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1.2 Why Are SANs Needed?

Virtually every sector of commerce has an immense requirement for capacity, speed, and reliability in storing data. Government and education, although restrained by budget considerations, have the same requirement. And every enterprise is concerned with managing storage costs.

Capacity.   In traditional business applications, simple growth of customer and manufacturing data drives the need for capacity. Business consolidations and worldwide commerce also drive the need. More data means more disk drives, greater capacity drives , and more densely populated enclosures to hold them.

New approaches to running traditional businesses drive a demand for storage. For example, data warehousing and data mining are methodologies that are producing gains for the businesses that use them. These are data-hungry constructs. In fact, at least one authority suggests that the warehouse and the data mine best serve the business as separate entities. That could amount to an instant doubling of storage requirements, and data warehouses typically aren t small.

In newer businesses, applications seem to need intense capacity and speed from their inception. Judging by the financial news, almost any e-commerce activity will ramp up from conception to reality in just months (possibly weeks), and some have become instant successes. Online retail sales, online business-to-business sales, and online auctions can attract millions of customers practically overnight. E-commerce is dramatic in its hunger for capacity, speed, and reliability in storage.

Video production, video-on-demand, and other imaging applications have storage requirements that make buying a book online look like child s play. It s fair to say that much wanted or much needed applications will not come into existence without the SAN.

Conventional storage methods can no longer satisfy the capacity requirements of mass storage. The scale of computing and the complexity of applications drive the demand for Storage Area Networks.

Reliability.   In all business sectors, the cost of downtime is larger than ever. In a presentation by Computer Network Technology at HP World 99, the costs of downtime were cited (shown in Table 1-1). The source is the Fibre Channel Industry Association.

Table  1-1. The Cost of Downtime

Business Hourly

Downtime Cost



Credit card sales authorization


Pay per view


Home shopping


Catalog sales


Airline reser vations


Teleticket sales


Package shipping




A SAN is Information Technology s best answer to avoiding downtime catastrophes, whether the catastrophe amounts to an hour less of selling books, or a week of nonoperation due to a major hurricane . A SAN lends itself to disaster recovery scenarios better than previous storage strategies.

Costs.   In all business sectors, reduction of IT operating costs is all too often a dominant factor in driving IT choices. Business is always interested in a lower price per gigabyte for mass storage, and the hardware manufacturers are accommodating them. Business is also interested in lowering the labor costs for maintenance, management, and expansion, which can be intensive . Fortunately for IT management, a Storage Area Network can be maintained , managed, and expanded with relative ease by fewer people than required by non-SAN sites. There will still be $90,000-a-year system administrators, but there will be fewer of them at a single site.

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Storage Area Networks. Designing and Implementing a Mass Storage System
Storage Area Networks: Designing and Implementing a Mass Storage System
ISBN: 0130279595
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2000
Pages: 88

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