Components of Storage Area Network (SAN)

SAN stands for "Storage Area Network" in its complete form. Block-level data storage is offered via a Storage Area Network (SAN), a dedicated, autonomous, and ultra-speed network that gives different servers access to a common pool of storage devices.

Data transmission between the server and storage device as well as data transfer between storage systems are the two major goals of storage area networks. Storage area networks are mostly used to access storage devices from servers, such as tape libraries and disk-based devices.

Servers, network infrastructure, and storage make up the three main parts of a storage area network. Nevertheless, these parts are further divided into the following fundamental components − Node ports, Cabling, Interconnecting devices (such FC switches or hubs), Storage arrays, and SAN administration software.

Since it is built using hosts, switches, and other storage devices that are connected with the aid of typologies, protocols, and technologies, SAN is a specialized network that cannot be accessed via a LAN network.

We'll now go into more depth regarding each of these elements −

  • The node port

  • Cables

  • Devices for Interconnection

  • and Storage Array

  • Software for SAN Management

They are described in more depth below.

Node Ports

Simple hardware like hosts, storage, and tape libraries are examples of node ports since they serve as the source or destination of one or more nodes in a fiber channel.

Each node in this system has one or more ports for connecting to other nodes and communicating with them. These port types are internal components of host bus adapters and storage front-end adapters (HBA).

This port transfers a transmit link and a receive link together with the full-duplex data transmission method.


You should be aware that the Storage Area Network (SAN) design uses optical fibre cables. There are two types of optical fiber cables − multi-mode optical cable and single-mode optical cable.

  • Multi-Mode Fiber Cable − MMF cable sends many light beams that are concurrently projected at various angles into the cable core. Light beams are being sent within the wire, where they will eventually clash and scatter. Due to signal attenuation, which causes dispersion, multi-mode fiber cables are allowed for short distances of up to 500 meters.

  • Single-Mode Fiber (SMF) − The fiber's core sends a single light beam over the SMF cable. Small cable cores reduce modal dispersion, single-mode fibers are used for long distances up to 10 KM because to their low attenuation, and SMF is more costly than MMF.

Connectivity Devices

These devices, such as Hubs, Switches, and Directors, provide connectivity between the host and a storage area network environment

  • Hubs − Implemented into fibre cable systems, hubs are communication tools that aid in joining nodes into star or loop topologies.

  • Switches − Switches are superior to hubs in that they enable direct data transfer from one port to another. They perform better than hubs while being less expensive

  • Directors − Directors operates like FC switches, but it has fault tolerance capabilities and larger port count. Moreover, bigger switches and data center installations use it.

Storage Arrays

Storage area network N/major W's goal is to provide its host with storage resources. Disk array is another name for a storage array, which is a storage system used to get block-based storage, file-based storage, or object storage. The SAN storage infrastructure allows multiple host connectivity, high availability, and redundancy, as well as improved availability and redundancy.

SAN Management Software

The host, connectivity devices, and storage array interfaces are all managed by this management application package. It is more significant since it enables whole resource management from a single location and offers the full SAN environment structure. This program has critical administration features including the ability to map servers, switches, and storage devices, track devices found and provide warnings when they change, and divide the SAN logically. Moreover, it manages the crucial SAN components like storage and networking.


In conclusion, access to data storage at the block level is provided via a fast network called a storage area network (SAN). It is built to offer centralized storage for extensive corporate applications and is made up of servers, storage, and switches. Host servers, storage arrays, SAN switches, and storage management software make up a SAN's essential parts. SANs may be configured in a variety of ways to satisfy specific performance, capacity, and availability needs. Connectivity choices include Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and FCoE. SANs provide high-performance, high-availability storage for mission-critical applications, making them an essential component of the architecture of modern data centers.

Updated on: 07-Sep-2023


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