Storage Area Network technology has been around since the late 1990s, but historically it was priced far out of the range of small IT departments. Now this option for making more-efficient use of data storage has become affordable for all but the smallest of IT shops.

SAN storage devices are disk arrays located on a network storage device shared with multiple servers–up to 16 servers, for these models. To each server operating system, however, the storage that a SAN storage device provides appears to be dedicated, not shared.

It used to be that when you bought a server, you guessed how much storage you would need, and then bought disks based on that often-underestimated number. When your needs outgrew your disk capacity, you had to back up the server, replace the disks, and restore the data. With a SAN storage area network, however, you buy only as much storage as you initially need, and then expand as you go. This save your company money in hardware costs and energy consumption, and it reduces IT personnel workload and system downtime.

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