SAN (storage area network) is a high-speed network of storage devices that also connects those storage devices with servers.
It provides block-level storage that can be accessed by the applications running on any networked servers. SAN storage devices can include tape libraries and disk-based devices. Utilizing a SAN can also simplify some management tasks, potentially allowing organizations to hire fewer IT workers or to free up some IT workers for other tasks. It's also possible to boot servers from a SAN, which can reduce the time and hassles involved in replacing a server. Fibre Channel is currently the most widely used communication protocol for SANs, but it is by no means the only one. Some SAN networks rely on iSCSI communication, a mapping of SCSI protocol over TCP/IP. SANs can also use ATA over Ethernet (AoE), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), ESCON over Fibre Channel, HyperSCSI and some other protocols.
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