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SAN:  Explanation

Posted on 2007-03-25
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Hello Experts,

Can anybody provide an overview on Fibre Channel SANs.  In other words, HowTo explanation and actual connectivity to a network in particular Cisco Catalyst switches.  What are the do's and don'ts. Any online references.

Again, thank you for your time on this matter.
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Question by:coperator
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Expert Comment

by:giltjr
ID: 18790442
Which Catalyst swtich?  Do any of them support Fibre Channel?  I know that Cicso has SAN switches, but I did not realize that any of the Catalysts support Fibre Channel.

A SAN, Storage Area network, is basically a computer system that is customized to be a "DISK" server.  Fiber Channel is a protocol that allows DISK I/O to/from these systems.

Typically you connect a SAN either directly to comptuers using Fibre Channel cards in the computers or through a SAN switch.

A SAN switch is NOT the same thing as a LAN switch.  Now you can connect a SAN directly to a LAN, but this is for managment of the SAN, not for accessing the disks.

http://www.tech-faq.com/storage-area-network.shtml
http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/tips0126.html?Open
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/SAN.html
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by:coperator
ID: 18790618
Hello giltjr,

Actually I was trying to find out if a Catalyst switch can be use in a SAN.  Base on the references that you had provided, it seems that Fibre Channel is the way to go.  Also, you mentioned that Cisco has SAN switches,  do you know the models of such devices?
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by:giltjr
ID: 18792376
I don't think Cisco has put Fibre Channel support in any Catalyst's.  Because of the purpose of SAN vs. LAN/WAN I doubt if the would. Normally the people you have managing your network would not be the same people you have managing your disk/data storage.  If everything was in a single box, you could have some turf wars.

Cisco's MDS9000 family of products are SAN devices:

     http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/ps4159/index.html

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by:coperator
ID: 18796809
giltjr,

Reviewing the link, but I am wondering as to how forms of NIC types are their in a SAN.  Is iSCSI of them?  Are their any other types?

Again, thank you!
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giltjr earned 2000 total points
ID: 18797312
Cisco does support iSCSI in the MDS9000s.

--> I am wondering as to how forms of NIC types are their in a SAN.

I am not sure what you mean by this.  The communctions between the SAN and the servers using the SAN is not via NICs but via fibre channel cards, also called Host Bus Adapbers (HBA's).

You can read a little bit about Cicso and iSCSI here:
     http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns340/ns394/ns259/ns261/networking_solutions_white_paper09186a00800a90e4.shtml
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