Storage area network (SAN) software connects remote computer storage devices to servers (Adaptec, 2005). Remote computer devices used for storage connected this way function normally as if controlled by local operating system. By making available storage resources to the servers through a network, SAN software uncouples the entire storage resources from platform entities thus allowing inter-node transfer of data on storage network. Examples of storage devices that can be managed by SAN software include tape libraries, optical jukeboxes and disk arrays.
SAN software maintains its own network of devices used for storage and these storage devices are not usually accessible via any regular network by ordinary devices (Adaptec, 2005). SAN technology is an improvement on the old technology of direct-attached storage or DAS which was used for managing storage resources (Adaptec, 2005). SAN creates efficiency in the use of storage resources. DAS technology was originally used by a number of data centers to link small computer system interface (SCSI) disk arrays in which each device was dedicated to a single operation and only visible as a virtual hard drive.
The advent of SAN saw the consolidation of a number of storage SCSI disk arrays by utilizing an improved network speed (Adaptec, 2005). SAN software consolidates storage resources as well as the sharing capability across a number of servers. It is estimated that in each storage device, SANs utilize about 50 percent capacity more than DAS (Adaptec, 2005). SAN software also offers a centralized storage resource management.
This way, even a small IT staff can easily manage large amounts of storage where one IT individual is able to manage up to 7 times the capacity managed by DAS (Adaptec, 2005). This reduces headaches and management costs hence improving profitability. In general, as companies increasingly require efficient and scalable solutions to make data available to users, servers and applications across enterprises, SAN software and SAN technologies offer capacities to reduce storage problems while increasing efficiency in storage, availability and scalability.