Applying the SAN

By Tom Henderson, |  Storage

  • Content management: Whether they're MP3s or LiquidAudio files,
    FireWire or Iwire downloads, or NTSC, HDTV, or MPEG video, today's media files are huge
    and uninterruptable, and they must be randomly accessible. SANs have found particular
    favor in publishing houses -- both print and Web -- for two key reasons: they allow
    access to data across an unparalleled range of platforms, and they're fast enough to
    meet the demands of most streaming media. (Some video-editing houses, however, have
    moved to switch fabrics, which support even faster throughput.)
  • Engineering document control: Organizations that are converting
    from manual drawings and hodgepodge ECR systems are finding that digitized drawings and
    CAD files need ever expandable storage. SANs fit the bill. (Running out of drive
    letters was a problem for one of my clients.)
  • Workgroups and groupware: Whether housed on an Exchange server
    or a Notes server, message stores are becoming gargantuan. Need another drive or array?
    Plug it in. A new dancing-baby AVI has been forwarded to fifteen hundred of your email
    users? Heaven help us.
  • ERP and CRM: The amount of data generated by both enterprise
    resource planning and customer relationship management applications seems to expand
    without end. Add customizations, management apps, analyses, and distributions of
    analyzed data -- and watch how the volume of data explodes.
  • Adopting a SAN reminds me of practicing est or transcendental meditation. Once
    you've shaken your old mindset, you start to find new ways of applying the method.
    Likewise, once you've made the necessary leap to a new infrastructure, you'll find that
    removing storage from the data-processing method associated with servers is liberating.
    A SAN will have helped you achieve application-services modularity.

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