How to Install a Storage Area Network (SAN)

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A storage area network is directly attached to the network and controlled by an integrated processor and software designed to enhance the productivity of users. Installing a SAN is a great way to increase the storage capacity of any enterprise network without upgrading or replacing servers or other equipment. Configuration is easy and connections are direct to the network. Existing user rights and profiles can be quickly applied and the storage space can be divided into separate volumes or several SAN units can be combined into one volume, depending on the needs of the organization.

Things You'll Need

  • Rack space or a solid shelf to mount the SAN
  • Available network connection
  • Battery backup system
  • Create a suitable storage location for the SAN by freeing up rack space for rack-mounted units or dedicating a solid shelf for desktop units.

  • Install a battery backup system and run a network cable to the location of the SAN.

  • Install the SAN unit into the rack or onto the shelf.

  • Connect the network patch cable to the back of the SAN unit and the power cord to a battery-protected port on the battery backup unit and power the unit on.

  • Allow the SAN unit five minutes to start up for the first time and review any indicator lights present on the unit. Refer to the documentation that came with the unit for an explanation of the particular patterns or lights and what they mean, which will vary slightly by make and model.

  • Navigate to the IP address or shared name of the unit as indicated in the documentation from any computer on the network.

  • Follow the on-screen prompts to configure access and set up the volumes on the SAN. Each brand and model will require slightly different procedures.

  • Launch Windows Explorer from any connected computer and navigate to the SAN by typing a "\" followed by the device name or IP address and press "Enter" to see a list of shared drives on the device.

  • Right-click on one of the shared drives and click "Map Network Drive." Repeat for additional folders as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase enough capacity to store the current data and allow expansion for the immediate future when purchasing a storage area network.
  • Use the highest speed network port available as the connection will be shared by several users.
  • Do not buy more storage than you anticipate you will need for the next two years as the price of storage is always dropping and the expense may be exorbitant compared to buying the right-sized solution and upgrading later.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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