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Storage area network scaling top five tips

When adding a fabric to a storage area network (SAN), VARs can make the job easier by considering their goal while making the addition to the network.

Channel takeaway: Storage area network (SAN) scaling doesn't have to be difficult for VARs. By keeping a few guidelines in mind, adding another fabric to the SAN can be a hassle-free process. Check out these five suggestions to keep the SAN scaling process running smoothly.

If you're currently reviewing your SAN topology with an eye toward scaling beyond a single fabric, there are a variety of technologies and products that can help you accomplish your goal. There are also a few pitfalls to watch out for, both during the initial assessment and the actual deployment. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Even if you are not planning on combining devices from different fabrics, some upfront planning now can reduce, if not eliminate, future interoperability challenges. Remember that:

  • Routing is not just a technology for spanning distances. It can be equally of use in a local environment, for example, segmentation of physically interconnected SAN islands and protocol conversion to support iSCSI-enabled servers.
  • Plan and design for growth, maintenance and diagnostic of your storage network.
  • Use SRM tools to keep track of and monitor the health and status of your storage network, including performance and resource usage. Change control and management software can help to proactively determine and isolate problems before they occur.
  • Utilize unique, descriptive naming and addressing conventions including domain IDs. This is helpful regardless of if you are merging fabrics or keeping them isolated.
  • Enable domain ID lockdown to insure unique domain IDs on switches, particularly for FICON cascade, that also require fabric binding security.
  • Isolate traffic and workload with segmentation, zoning, LUN masking and mapping.

Read the rest of Schulz's tip at

About the author: Greg Schulz is a senior analyst with the independent storage analysis firm, The Evaluator Group Inc. Greg has 25 years of IT experience as a consultant, end user, storage and storage networking vendor, and industry analyst. Greg has worked with Unix, Windows, IBM Mainframe, OpenVMS and other hardware/software environments. In addition to being an analyst, Greg is also the author and illustrator of Resilient Storage Networks, Greg has contributed material to Storage Magazine. Greg holds both a computer science and software engineering degree from the University of St. Thomas.

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