Controller - Big picture

Posted on 2009-12-29
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
There are different terminologies related to SAN/Disk I come across, in terms of 'Controller'...:

RAID controller, SAN controller, SAN Volume Controller (anything else?)

can you please give the distinction between these or which of these are the same? What are the purposes of a controller and how do they help data access for a server to the LUN.

Question by:anushahanna
    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    Other terms I have seen are SATA Controller, 15K Controller...
    LVL 28

    Accepted Solution

    A controller is the interface between some storage item and the motherboard.  An IDE drive, for example, has an IDE controller. Sata drives have a Sata controller.

    Typically in servers you have SCSI drives or SAS and in bigger installs you might have a SANs which is just a big cabinet with lots of disks.   So for a SCSI drive you would have a SCSI controller and so forth.  Some older controllers may not support RAID or have some limited RAID functionality.  Early HP servers would come with a SCSI controller that would allow you to integrate SCSI drives with the server, but there was no support for hardware-based RAID.  To get that you had to install a special SCSI RAID controller.

    SANs controllers are typically iSCSI or fiber.
    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    15K Controller just mean an interface for a 15K Disk, right?

    Are SAN controllers and SAN Volume Controllers the same?

    Do these controllers have a bandwidth, that they can only transport so much storage data at one time?

    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    Not sure about the 15K. I've never had to "link" the drive speed to the controller, but perhaps that's just because the vendor matched them for me.

    Not sure I know the difference, if there is one, between a SANs and SANs volume controller.

    SANs systems, at least the fiber ones that I am familiar with, do have a bandwidth component. You usually need to match the controllers with the drive types as far as bandwidth.

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