A Storage Area Network (SAN) is rapidly becoming the network of choice for small businesses. Here’s what you need to know about how small businesses can benefit from harnessing this virtual data storage solution.
How a Storage Area Network (SAN) works
A SAN is a high-speed network that gives network users fast access to storage. In other words, it’s an example of data virtualization. The SAN takes the pressure off the Local Area Network (LAN) by moving storage traffic, and storage devices, off the LAN and into a dedicated network. In turn, the SAN helps speed up LAN performance because it isn’t burdened with excessive storage requirements.
Types of SAN
SANs range in size and complexity. For example, some SANs have just a few servers, and others have thousands. The size of the SAN that’s best for your organization all depends upon your unique business needs.
SANs work on either:
- Fiber Channel technology (FC)
- The Internet Small Computing System Interface (iSCSI)
The iSCSI solution is less expensive than FC, which makes it attractive to SMBs. However, FC technology is faster and has greater capacity, which makes it popular with businesses who need uninterrupted data access for mission-critical applications.
Whichever SAN you choose, both types offer similar benefits and are usually a better option than alternative storage solutions.
The advantages of a SAN
There are so many advantages to using Storage Area Networks, but here are our top five associated benefits.
1. Reduces LAN bandwidth problems
A key benefit of SANs is bandwidth improvement. LAN-based server storage systems are often subject to bandwidth bottlenecks, which reduces performance and increases the time it takes to complete simple tasks and transfers. Since a SAN takes over a large chunk of your network traffic, it decreases the stress on your LAN’s bandwidth.
2. Improved data security
Data security is paramount for every business. With a SAN, data protection algorithms stay consistent, so you’ll have access to accurate copies of any data whenever you need it. What’s more, should hackers access your LAN, critical stored data is now on a separate network, meaning you won’t lose it.
3. Responsive backup
Whenever you audit your network performance, data backup is a major consideration. The good news is that a SAN allows for streamlined data backup. With the SAN, you only need a single backup server to back up data from across multiple locations. The SAN’s flexible storage capacity also saves you from spending extra money on physical storage solutions for your data.
4. Increased scalability
One of the great things about SANs is that they are easily scaled to suit evolving business needs. For example, if you need more storage, you can add capacity as and when it’s required. This means you’re never sitting there with more storage than you require. What’s more, you can quickly and seamlessly upgrade SAN infrastructure when necessary.
5. Reliable disaster recovery
It’s not just data backup that’s important to your organization. Unfortunately, disaster strikes when we’re least expecting it. Whether it’s a cyber attack or a natural disaster, if the worst happens, you’ll want to know that you can recover your critical business data from across multiple applications. While this isn’t possible with all networks, it’s possible with a SAN.
Since between 40 and 60 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after a disaster due to lack of infrastructure or poor planning, the SAN decreases your chances of becoming another statistic.
With a SAN, you can reap the benefits of faster backups, improved scalability, and increased data security. For more information on the advantages of SANs, and for guidance on why a SAN may be helpful to your business, contact us today.