How To Install Your First SAN - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hardware & Infrastructure
01:35 PM

How To Install Your First SAN

Adding a storage area network (SAN) to your computing environment doesn't need to be a difficult experience. We show you how.

Welcome to Accidental IT, a series of technical how-tos for people whose job descriptions don't necessarily include tech support but who often find themselves doing just that for their co-workers.

Your company has outgrown its disk drive capacity...again. It's time to add yet another drive to your server. Aside from the fact that your server case only has room for one more drive, there are so many things that can go wrong during the upgrade that you're dreading taking the system down. Not only are your applications and data in jeopardy, but since you need to do the upgrade outside regular business hours, you're expecting to lose the entire weekend. Maybe it's finally time to install an external set of drives on its own high-speed network. Yep, we're talking about a SAN (storage area network).

To be sure, the decision to install a SAN is not one to be taken lightly. Despite the inconvenience and pain you experience every time you add a drive to a server, the level of planning and knowledge required to properly configure and install a SAN is much more intense. In addition, the cost of a SAN is on par with the cost of a server. However, the advantages of the SAN architecture can far outweigh both the costs and implementation complexities.

SANs offer operating system independence, easy expansion, and can supply storage to multiple servers simultaneously. You can start with a few drives and add more without taking the servers or the drive system down. The design of most SAN devices allows you to choose which and how many drives are arranged in your RAID configuration, and these systems are designed for high reliability.


All SAN devices have their own features and setup procedures. What is common among them is the need to carefully plan your setup and configuration according to how the system will be used. A part of the planning process is validating the configuration of your SAN design. Configuring a SAN is not something to do without reading and following the manufacturer's instructions to the last detail.

An advantage to SAN devices is the flexibility they offer in expansion and connections. SAN networks can grow to include multiple SAN cabinets connected to multiple SAN switches and multiple servers. For our initial installation we will assume a single SAN cabinet connected to two Windows servers. Your network may include more than two servers, and all of them can access the SAN, but the connection path is through the two fibre channel-attached servers.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll