5 Advantages and Disadvantages of SAN | Drawbacks & Benefits of SAN

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5 Advantages and Disadvantages of SAN | Drawbacks & Benefits of SAN

5 Advantages and Disadvantages of SAN | Drawbacks & Benefits of SAN

What is SAN ?

Storage Area Network (SAN) is a technology which allows data storage inside the network. All the files and applications are stored locally inside the drives so that data transfer takes place between servers and storage devices.

What are the layers of SAN ?

Based on the storage of different components, there are three layers in storage area networks. Those are the host layer, fabric layer and storage layer The storage devices used in this network are not connected to the servers directly. Instead a switch is used. The network includes devices such as fiber optic cables, servers and switches. 

Although SAN has become an attractive option for companies, it aren't flawless. Similar to other data storage solutions, SAN comes with certain limitations. Before deploying SAN, organizations must carefully weigh the pros and cons. 

In this article, I am going to tell you about 5 Advantages and Disadvantages of SAN | Drawbacks & Benefits of SAN. Through this post, you will know the pros and cons of using SAN.

Let's get started,

Advantages of SAN

1. Speed

As SAN includes fiber optics technology, it offers tremendous amount of speed transfer rates. It is possible of achieve a speed of over 5Gbps using SAN. Even if your storage device or the network tends to perform slow, the speed can be easily increased with the use of SAN.

2. Security

Various types of security measures are available on SAN which ensures that your data is secure. On default, the algorithms of SAN are written in a way to protect every piece of data stored in it. For an example, certain restrictions can be placed on storage such that only authorized users will be able to access it. There is very less chance of data theft happening in SAN.

3. Reliability

SAN comes with built in redundancy that makes sure of continuous network operations. Even in case a server or a switch fails, the traffic will be rerouted to avoid failures. Once the server starts functioning again, the operations will be continued immediately. 

4. Scalability

SAN also offers much greater scalability according to the business needs. If there is more storage needs, the users can increase the drives accordingly. Even though there is a limit on the number of drives, SAN normally will be able to accommodate more than 1000 of drives. This means that SAN allows upgrading their infrastructure whenever necessary without interruptions. 

5. Data Backup

For the process of backing up data, SAN follows a centralized approach. As a result, it requires very less time for backing up. Using this type of approach, users can easily backup data automatically as well as instantly. And even if there is a need to backup data from multiple locations it is made possible using a single server.

Disadvantages of SAN

1. Cost

Purchasing and maintaining a Storage Area Network requires significant amount of cost. This is mainly due to the fact that fiber technology is being used. Hence, it is especially preferred by organizations of large scale. And SAN takes some time to show their impact. Therefore, organizations must be willing to accept the initial cost.

2. Maintenance

Not all the time SAN will be a beneficial option. SAN is designed to manage large amount of expensive servers. Maintaining few servers with the use of SAN is an unnecessary expense. In this case, the users could consider other software solutions. Or else, simply manage the servers themselves. 

3. Privacy 

Although SAN implements right security measures, still there is a possibility of data leakage. A Storage Area Network is used in a shared environment. Meaning, a common storage device and servers are used by the connected computers. If a data happens to leak from one of the computers, it could impact the others. 

4. Effectiveness

Even if organizations are ready to accept the high initial costs of SAN, still it takes some time to show its effectiveness. It takes longer period of time to impact a business. Particularly, for services such as downtime and disaster recovery. Therefore, SAN is a poor choice, if your business needs to experience immediate results.

5. Complexity

SAN is complex in nature for various reasons. One such is the usage of sophisticated storage devices. Hence, it needs maintenance and support to be done by the IT professionals which could further increase the expenditure of Storage Area Network. This is one of the reasons why organizations refrain to use SAN.


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