SAN is a storage area network switch which is a device that make connections to servers and shared pools of storage devices and is used to move storage traffics. Basically, a SAN Switch manages traffic flow and stream between the servers and storage devices, checking data packets and sending them to their destinations which has been set before. SAN switches are often Fibre Channel switches; however, Ethernet-based SAN switches are also usual to use.
Types of SAN
SAN Switches divides into two major categories: Fibre Channel (FC) and Ethernet. Fibre Channel switches are the most popular that the community of network companies use them in most of the situation. They’re flexible and convenient with Fibre Channel technologies and they can be based on modules or fixed.
A modular switch is normally a director-class FC switch it is possible to expand and develop and gives a high port count. A fixed switch is one with a fixed which its configuration has been set before and it isn’t possible to change configuration file due to they are fixed. Director-class FC switches actually support features like encryption and zoning for load balancing and data access control.
basically FC switches demonstrate the most common type to use but Ethernet-based SAN has been expanded in popularity, especially with the increasing of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). In addition, 1 GbE switch ports can be aggregated to send higher throughput, providing more deployment that can be flexible.
Fibre Channel is popular for one factor which is delivering much better performance than Ethernet, exactly when the Ethernet SAN is being shared with non-storage traffic. In conclusion we can say, Fibre Channel is still considered a more reliable and secure storage fabric, and it give the chances of more advanced management abilities that is possible.
Finally, you may have a rough decision to make and understand or know the difference between LAN switch vs SAN switch. You can put some differences and select them by asking some questions about features. except from these, port speeds, interface connections, Power over Ethernet and etc.
How can we use a SAN Switch?
Both Ethernet and FC switches manage traffic flow and stream, but they can just support the special and unique technologies behind them. An Ethernet switch, for instance, shares in the same advantages and limitations as Ethernet itself does. The same action happens to FC switches.
Switches based on the same protocol can also have different types and sorts. They might have a different number of ports or support different maximum port speeds. They might also prepare different management and security features, with some features stuck to specific server architectures.
Both switches, of course with other data center switches, also offer very additional features and capabilities. many has redundant power supplies with at least one hot-swappable power supply. They might also give Quality of Service (QoS) features etc. In addition, SAN switches normally follow the industry standards such the Simple Network Time Protocol or Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).
SAN Switch against other network switches
Network switches has different kinds and sub sorts with some comparisons from one source to another sometimes they try to deny each other which can make it hard to understand their differences. Even so, most switches can be divided into three broad categories:
- Managed: These switches give the most general wide range of features and prepare the highest levels of security and control through the network. They’re usually used in large and big networks and data centers, although sometimes they can be used in smaller networks.
- Unmanaged: These switches are typically used in home networks, small organizations or other small settings that need only basic connectivity and relatively few ports.
- Smart (half managed): These switches are somewhere between managed and unmanaged switches. They have basic management and security capabilities, along with features and abilities such as QoS or network sectioning feature. Smart switches provide a more affordable alternative option to managed switches and can be useful for organizations that want to deploy VLANs or section.
In addition to these three sorts, network switches are also can be grouped by whether they have some features like Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches. This type of switch combines data and power on the same network cable, improve the level of power and data transmission on a single line. A PoE switch makes it possible to extend a network to an area without a possible and accessible power source, while helping to make it easier for network cabling.
Another usual kind of switches is the LAN switch, which is typically based on Ethernet technologies. Ethernet gives a common standard that states how network devices should format and send data so other networked devices can have communications with each other. The terms of LAN and Ethernet are commonly can be change like each other, as the terms of LAN switch and Ethernet switch. LAN switches include those used for Ethernet SANs.
LAN and SAN have so many things in common that both can provide a data communication path. A LAN, however, can be used to connect file servers, printers, storage arrays, desktops and other networked devices, which means that a LAN switch can direct traffic between a range of endpoints. actually, a SAN switch is used for storage traffic only, no matter based on Ethernet or Fibre Channel technologies, and the switch is optimized for that specific goal.
No matter traditional or virtual SAN has so many different advantages and capabilities like:
- High performance: The SAN can support very large deployments such as thousands of SAN host servers and storage devices or even storage systems
- High availability: A traditional SAN is based on the idea of a network fabric, which usually make some connections from everything to everything else.
- Advanced management features: A SAN will support an array of useful enterprise-class storage features, which has data encryption etc. Features are almost generally focused and can easily be u to all the storage resources on the SAN.
despite the benefits and advantages, SANs are hardly perfect, and there is range of potential disadvantages for IT leaders to think before deploying or upgrading a SAN.
- Complexity: Although more valuable options and capabilities, such as FCoE and unified options that are existed for SANs today, traditional SANs show the added difficulty of a second network complete with high cost of price.
- Scale: imagine that we are sure about the cost, a SAN is generally effective only in larger and more difficult environments and situations where there are many servers and serious and important storage.
- Management: With the idea of complicated focused on hardware, there is also a major challenge in SAN management. Configuring features, such as LUN mapping or zoning, can make some problems for busy organizations.