What is a SAN Header??

Posted on 2008-06-26
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Hi All,

I am expecting a large delivery of our new server infrustructure and I have a question round what a SAN Header is.

I am getting a Dell EMC2 CX3-20 + 3 x Dell DAE4P (15 x 300Gb each) storage trays. I am a little confused on how its all going to fit together.  

I've been told that the EMC2 CX3-20 is a SAN header, what does this mean?

If you need more information about the solution then please do ask.

Question by:museudf
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Accepted Solution

skcandco earned 125 total points
ID: 21877182
A San header is pretty much the server that processes the input and output of data to the trays.  The trays are really just enclosures for the hard drives and the bus components to transfer data in and out.
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:Gerald Connolly
Gerald Connolly earned 125 total points
ID: 21879185
The CX3-20 is the RAID controller. RAID controllers normally have a front-end that connects to your servers via Fibre-Channel or iSCSI, and a back-end that connects to the disks, normally by Fibre-Channel but increasingly SAS especially at the bottom end.
LVL 55

Assisted Solution

andyalder earned 125 total points
ID: 21879434
The above are both correct in describing your hardware but "SAN header" isn't a term I have heard before and it isn't one I want to hear again since it's so similar to "NAS head" which is an industry standard term and is something completely different.

Is there a web page that uses this term or is it just your local retailer using his own terminology like I would use "big winny" to describe a large disk drive?
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Expert Comment

ID: 21879595
It's probably just a local retailer description, although I have seen a few references to a Header server for a SAN, but I'm guessing it's just a bad way of describing the hardware that attaches the Fiber SAN in the background...  
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Duncan Meyers
Duncan Meyers earned 125 total points
ID: 21880261
There are a number of components to your system. You'll get 3 DAE's (Disk Array Enclosure - or disk shelf) with 15 drives in each. You'll get the CX3-20 SPE (Storage {Processor Enclosure) which , as others have noted, contain the smarts of  the system. It contains two storage processors (SPA and SPB) which talk to each other across a high speed CMI bus. Each SP is connected to the servers using FE (Front-End) ports via fibre channel switches (for a CX3-20F, CX3-20C or CX3-20), or via iSCSI if you've purchased a CX3-20C. The SPE is connected to the DAE's via the BE (Back-End) ports. Each SP (Storage Processor) has a connection into the DAEs and they cascade one to the other. The CX3-20 can support a maximum of 120 drives, or 8 DAEs.

You've got a box with excellent performance that sits at the bottom of the mid-range for SAN storage. It will support (from memory) up to 128 hosts, and providing you have enopugh disk spindles, handle pretty much anything you're likely to throw at it.

SAN Header is not a recognised term as the other have pointed out. It's a bit of a sign of your Dell sales rep's abject ignorance of the subject.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 22066357
Points, please rindi!   :-)

Expert Comment

ID: 22069891
Meyers probably deserves most of the points
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 22097915
I think there is scope for all of who contributed to get an even share of any (if ever) points!  :-)


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