Fibre Channel storage area networks

A Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) is a specialized, high-speed network that attaches servers and storage devices.

With a SAN, you can create an any-to-any connection across the network with interconnected elements such as routers, gateways, and switches. Using a SAN can eliminate the connection between a server, storage, and the concept that the server effectively owns and manages the storage devices.

The SAN also eliminates any restriction on the amount of data that a server can access. This restriction is limited by the number of storage devices that can be attached to the individual server. Instead, a SAN introduces the flexibility of networking to enable one server or many heterogeneous servers to share a common storage utility. This might comprise many storage devices, including disk, tape, and optical storage. You can also locate the storage utility far from the servers that use it.

Fibre Channel SANs provide the capability to interconnect open systems hosts and z Systems™ hosts. You can map the protocols for attaching open systems hosts and z Systems hosts to the FC-4 layer of the Fibre Channel architecture.