SAN as building block in Distributed Data Storage

SAN as building block in Distributed Data Storage

Storage Area Network (SAN) –

What Is a Storage Area Network? SAN Explained

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A storage area network is usually recognized as a specialized, speedy network that offer the provision of network access to various storage devices. Storage Area Networks usually comprise different hosts, switches, storage elements as well as storage devices, which are inter-related and inter-connected through various technologies, protocols, and topologies.

A SAN makes the representation of the storage devices towards a host in such a way that it seems like the storage is locally attached. However, for a more simplified representation, the storage toward a host is attained through the usage of various kinds of virtualization.

The usage of Storage Area Networks (SANs) –

What Is a Storage Area Network? SAN Explained

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  1. It helps in the improvement of application-related availabilities, like multiple data paths.
  2. It enhances and enriches the performance of the application like; off-load storage functions, segregated or zonal networks, etc.
  3. Storage Area Network assists in increasing the storage utilization and efficacy along with ameliorating the data protection and security system. For instance, it provides consolidated storage resources, tiered storage, etc.

Building Blocks –

What Is a Storage Area Network? SAN Explained

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The most formidable and intriguing task in developing web distributed systems and Distributed Data Storage systems lies in scaling data access.

Only when application servers become stateless and adopt a shared-nothing architecture does the burden shift down the stack to the database server and its auxiliary services.

In the arena of the data access layer, the real scaling and performance come into their active abilities.

The building blocks of a scalable data access layer are built of caches, proxies, indexes, load balancers, and queues. Some short glimpses of these building blocks would be as follows;

Caches –

SAN Building Blocks SAN Building Blocks Introduction - ppt download

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Caches can be considered ubiquitous in the process of computation. They possess a large capability to scale the readability access in a system that is clear. The locality and positioning of the reference principle are advantageous to the Cache. Here the recently requested data can be requested again.

There is massive importance of multiple layers of caching, which predominantly includes the existence of client-side caching.

Caches can exist at all levels of architecture, commonly positioned closest to the front end to rapidly return data without burdening downstream levels. By bypassing the need to query downstream levels, caches cleverly allow for system growth without the immediate need to scale out.

Cache Replacement –

SAN Terms and Building Blocks - Storage Area Networks: Designing and Implementing a Mass Storage System [Book]

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Request Nodes –

Simultaneous occurrence of the Cache with the node which makes a request of the data. The pros and cons with this request node are as follows;

Pros –

Anytime you make a request, the node can promptly return the data, avoiding any kind of hopping if it possesses an existence.

It primarily exists in in-memory, and it is very fast.

Cons –

If you happen to have numerous request nodes and if they have a good load-balance, then you might have to cache a similar item on all the nodes.

Global Cache –

It is a kind of central Cache that you utilize by all request nodes, and the respective pros and cons are as follows;

Pros –

The chance of Cache of an item is once only.

Multiple requests for an item can compress into one request when you send it to the backend.

Cons –

If respectively the number of clients and the incoming requests increase, you can give a single cache a lot of importance.

Reverse proxy cache – The Cache becomes responsible for the recovery of a cache miss, which is usually more common and possesses the ability to handle its own eviction.

In Cache as a Service, the request nodes take on the responsibility of recovering from a cache miss. You can often use this approach when the request nodes understand and manage the eviction strategy or hot spots more effectively than the Cache itself.

Distributed Cache –

All and each of the nodes that make up the Cache possesses a part of the cached data, further divided through utilizing a consistent hash function.

Pros –

The cache space and the loading capacity can increase through scaling out, which indirectly means increasing the number of nodes.

Cons –

Node failure occurs oftentimes. Thus, they must cautiously handle too and carefully ignore it.

Proxies –

What Is a Storage Area Network? SAN Explained

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Proxies are actually quite simple building blocks in any architecture. Only it is that they create deceptions like they are lightweight, comprised of invisible components, but they can offer the provision of an unbelievable and exceptional value to a system, through the means of minimizing the load or weight on the backend servers, furthermore offering a comfortable location for the caching layers and tunnelling the traffic and width appropriately.

Apart from these, there are Indexes, Load Balancers, and Queues, which also constitute a large part of the building block of Distributed Data Storage.

SAN (Storage Area Network) has emerged as a crucial building block in the realm of distributed data storage. With the exponential growth of data and the need for scalable and efficient storage solutions, SAN provides a powerful infrastructure that enables organizations to store and manage vast amounts of data across multiple devices and locations.

What does SAN do?

At its core, a SAN is a high-speed network that interconnects storage devices, such as disk arrays or tape libraries, to servers and other computing resources. Unlike traditional direct-attached storage (DAS), where each server has its own dedicated storage, SAN allows for the consolidation of storage resources into a single, shared pool. This centralized storage architecture provides several advantages in the context of distributed data storage.

Benefits of SAN

One of the key benefits of SAN is its ability to offer high performance and low latency data access. By utilizing high-speed Fibre Channel or Ethernet connections, SAN allows for the transfer of data at extremely fast rates, enabling applications to access and retrieve data quickly and efficiently. In distributed data storage scenarios, where data is stored across multiple devices and locations, the high-performance characteristics of SANs are particularly crucial. They ensure timely access to data, no matter where it resides within the storage infrastructure.

Inherent Scalability

Another critical aspect of SAN is its inherent scalability. As data continues to grow exponentially, organizations need storage solutions that can seamlessly accommodate increasing storage demands. SAN provides the flexibility to add or remove storage devices from the network without disrupting operations or impacting performance. This scalability enables organizations to adapt their storage infrastructure to changing needs. Whether you add new servers, expanding storage capacity, or integrating new technologies. By leveraging SAN, distributed data storage can easily scale to meet the evolving requirements of modern businesses.

Data reliability and availability

Data reliability and availability are paramount in any storage system, and SAN excels in these areas as well. SAN architectures often incorporate redundancy mechanisms such as RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) and data replication to ensure data integrity and minimize the risk of data loss. By distributing data across multiple storage devices, SAN can provide high levels of fault tolerance and availability. In the event of a failure or hardware malfunction, SAN’s redundant design allows for seamless failover and continuous access to data. Therefore, it minimizes downtime and ensuring business continuity.

Simplify administration

Moreover, SAN’s centralized management capabilities simplify the administration and maintenance of distributed data storage. By consolidating storage resources into a single entity, administrators can easily monitor and manage the entire storage infrastructure from a centralized location. This centralized management approach streamlines tasks such as provisioning storage, configuring access controls, and monitoring performance. Additionally, SAN’s management tools often provide advanced features. This includes data deduplication, thin provisioning, and snapshot capabilities. It further enhances the efficiency and manageability of distributed data storage.

In conclusion, SAN serves as a fundamental building block in distributed data storage. It provides high performance, scalability, data reliability, and centralized management. Its ability to consolidate and efficiently manage vast amounts of data across multiple devices and locations makes it an essential component in modern storage architectures. As data continues to grow, organizations can rely on SAN to meet their evolving storage needs, ensuring optimal performance, data availability, and business continuity. With its robust features and capabilities, SAN continues to play a vital role in enabling the storage infrastructure necessary to support the data-driven demands of today’s organizations.


What is SAN (Storage Area Network) as a building block in Distributed Data Storage?

SAN serves as a foundational component in Distributed Data Storage architectures, providing centralized and scalable storage resources.

How does SAN contribute to Distributed Data Storage?

SAN enables multiple servers to access shared storage resources, facilitating data distribution, redundancy, and scalability across the network.

What role does SAN play in ensuring reliability in Distributed Data Storage?

SAN enhances reliability by offering fault-tolerant features such as RAID arrays, redundant controllers, and failover mechanisms to maintain data availability in distributed environments.

Can SAN accommodate the scalability needs of Distributed Data Storage?

Yes, SAN is highly scalable, allowing for the addition of storage capacity and nodes to meet the growing demands of Distributed Data Storage systems.

How does SAN handle data distribution in Distributed Data Storage?

SAN utilizes storage virtualization and data distribution techniques to efficiently allocate and manage storage resources across distributed nodes, ensuring optimal performance and utilization.

Is SAN fault tolerance crucial for Distributed Data Storage?

Yes, SAN’s fault tolerance features are essential for Distributed Data Storage, as they help mitigate the risk of data loss and ensure uninterrupted access to critical information.

What considerations are important when implementing SAN in Distributed Data Storage architectures?

Key considerations include selecting appropriate SAN technologies, ensuring compatibility with existing infrastructure, optimizing network performance, and implementing robust security measures to protect distributed data assets.

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