Peel away the layers of even the most complex technologies and you are likely to find that they provide the most basic of functions. This is certainly true of storage area networks (SANs). Behind the acronyms and revolutionary headlines, lies a technology designed to provide a way of offering one of the oldest of network services, that of making access to data storage devices available to clients.
In very basic terms, a SAN can be anything from two servers on a network accessing a central pool of storage devices to several thousand servers accessing many millions of megabytes of storage. Conceptually, a SAN can be thought of as a separate network of storage devices physically removed from, but still connected to, the network. SANs evolved from the concept of taking storage devices, and therefore storage traffic, off the LAN and creating a separate back-end network designed specifically for data.
Read the rest at Enterprise Storage Forum.