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What Is SAN

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Huawei uses machine translation combined with human proofreading to translate this document to different languages in order to help you better understand the content of this document. Note: Even the most advanced machine translation cannot match the quality of professional translators. Huawei shall not bear any responsibility for translation accuracy and it is recommended that you refer to the English document (a link for which has been provided).



A storage area network (SAN) is a storage architecture that connects storage systems and application servers over a network for access between the application servers and storage systems.

In earlier stages, most SANs use Fibre Channel switches to connect storage systems and application servers, which causes a misunderstanding that a SAN is a Fibre Channel network that can only use the Fibre Channel protocol. Actually, SAN is a dedicated storage network architecture and is irrelevant to protocols and device types. As GE and 10GE networks become popular, SAN is classified as an FC SAN or an IP SAN.


An FC SAN uses Fibre Channel switches to connect application servers and storage systems, and carries data and SCSI instructions over Fibre Channel.


An IP SAN connects application servers and storage systems over a dedicated GE/10GE network, and carries data and SCSI instructions over TCP/IP.

Use of SAN Storage

  • Data sharing

    Centralized deployment of storage systems allows application servers to store and share data in a cost-effective way.

  • Storage sharing

    Multiple application servers share a storage system. The storage system can be logically divided into multiple parts with each part connected to a specific server for storage sharing.

  • Data backup

    Data backup uses an independent network, achieving centralized backup for data across heterogeneous servers.

  • Disaster recovery

    SAN employs multiple mechanisms to achieve automatic, hot data backup, allowing immediate data recovery in the event of a disaster.

Application Scenarios of SAN

SAN provides a flexible, high-performance, and scalable storage environment and is well suited for transmission of large data blocks between servers and storage systems. It is applicable to:

  • Database applications that have demanding requirements for response time, availability, and scalability
  • Centralized backup that requires high performance, data integrity, and reliability
  • Data centers of libraries, banks, securities, and large- or medium-size enterprises

Implementation of Huawei Storage

Huawei OceanStor series storage systems integrate both SAN and network-attached storage (NAS) capabilities. Figure 1-1 shows how Huawei storage is used on an integrated SAN and NAS network.

Figure 1-1 Use of the storage system on an integrated SAN and NAS network


  • NAS provides a file operation and management system, while SAN does not.
  • NAS can control the permissions of different users to access different files, while SAN cannot.
  • NAS supports quota control, while SAN does not.
  • SAN focuses on high-speed data storage, while NAS emphasizes file sharing.
  • SAN is an exclusive data storage pool, while NAS can be either a shared or an exclusive data storage pool.
  • SAN is efficient and scalable, while NAS is simple and flexible.
Updated: 2019-07-31

Document ID: EDOC1100096894

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