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SAN Backup Systems Explained

By March 20, 2013SAN Backup Systems

Hearing the suggestion that using SAN backup technology would be a good idea can spark several thoughts. First, the word “backup” sounds good. Your second thought might be, “what is a SAN? Did they miss adding a ‘d’?”
SAN is an abbreviation of the technical term, Storage Area Network. This in itself might not mean very much to the non-IT person, so this article is going to describe what SAN backup is, how it’s used, its features, and how a company would benefit using it.

In order to explain what SAN backup is and does, we first have to lay down some fundamentals. Since practically all businesses use some form of internet technology, much of a company’s data, documents, spreadsheets, etc, are in the form of virtual files. You can open your Documents folder on your computer and look at them.

Now, if your company has more than one computer and they’re connected to the Internet, you have what is called a network. A network is simply the connection between these computers; how they’re linked together. There are several types of networks, including LANs (local-area-networks), WANs (wide-area-networks), CANs (campus-area-networks,), etc. The main difference between these types is how far apart computers can be to still be connected together.  A server is what manages network resources. But where does SAN backup come into the picture?

SAN backup is a high-speed network of shared storage devices. A storage device is a dedicated machine that is full of disks, or tapes, that are capable of storing data. The point is that with a SAN system in place, all the data found on a company’s storage devices are made available to all servers on a LAN or WAN network. This means that all the files and information on one company’s network are available across multiple servers. This is incredibly useful!

First of all, SAN backup systems are regaled for their ability to move large chunks of data—not all other types of storage systems can boast this. Being able to move high quantities of information quickly reduces bandwidth-intensive activities, like database, imaging, and transaction processing. The way a SAN system is designed, aka, the architecture, allows for a high level of performance and efficiency.

Second, SAN backup systems are excellent to have because of system scalability. The system can grow with and work with your company’s growth. As your company adds more storage devices, they are simply added to the SAN system, and are then available to any server in your company’s network. This provides a great flexibility and ease of access to information.
A third benefit is that since stored data does not sit on a company’s server, but rather on the network of storage devices, that server is optimized for other functions. You’ve probably had this experience before: you’re on a popular website that suddenly is running very slowly. This is usually due to high traffic volume on that site. The way a SAN backup system works is that it balances out server requests (traffic) across the whole system of servers—this lets a large amount of users access the same information, all at the same time, without reducing the speed or efficiency of the network.

So far so good—SAN backup systems can handle high volumes of information, are scalable, and are built for efficiency. So where does the “backup” in its name come into play? Well, consider a common scenario that many companies face. They want to make copies of all the information they have amassed to keep it safe and secure in case of some disaster. They want to backup all of their data. Without SAN backup, this complete system duplication and storage might be done in chunks over a period of time. This is not efficient.

However, when your network is using a SAN backup system, making a complete data backup is almost instantaneous.  This saves a company time, energy, and money—providing you with ease of mind about your data security. can help find the best data storage system for you and your company’s unique needs. If you want your business’ information safe, secure, and accessible, ask us about how SAN backup systems can work for you.

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