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Security Considerations for Storage Area Networks by Colleen Rhodes on 27/12/05

As Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2005) explains it, a storage area network (SAN) is a network designed to attach computer storage devices such as disk array controllers and tape libraries to servers. SANs support disk mirroring, backup and restore, archival and retrieval of archived data, data migration from one storage device to another, and the sharing of data among different servers in a network. According to the GIAC Security Essentials Certification (2003, What is a San section, para. 1),

A Storage Area Network establishes a direct connection between storage element and servers or clients. This concept is similar to a Local Area Network (LAN) with the exception of allowing greater storage capacity and faster subnetworks. A SANs device allows multiple direct host connections or connections through a fiber hub or switch.

A storage area network can offer many benefits to a business. It can allow storage and tape backup resources to be pooled and shared effectively among host servers. Storage area networks also separate storage traffic from general network traffic. Biran, O., Meth, K., Sarkar, P., Satran, J. & Voruganti, K. (2003, Benefits section, para. 3) report,

In a storage area network, it is possible to perform LAN-free and server-free backup operations that copy data from a storage device directly to another storage device without transferring the data across the general-purpose network and servers. In other words, data are sent across the dedicated storage area network directly between the source and destination storage devices.

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