Developing High-Demand Skills: SAN Skills

These days, just about everything related to virtualization is in high demand and the field is growing dramatically. For instance, Gartner estimates that the number of virtualized PCs is expected to grow from less than 5 million in 2007 to 660 million by 2011.

So for the next three Systems & Networks articles, I’m going to cover technologies that fall under the virtualization umbrella:

  • Storage management: SAN and NAS.
  • Virtual operating systems: VMware’s ESX, Citrix’s XenServer and Microsoft’s Hyper-V.
  • Networking: LAN, WAN and storage networking.

This month, let’s tackle storage management. To oversimplify, there are three kinds of storage:

  • Local: A server with some internal storage or direct attached storage (DAS). New servers commonly have SCSI or SATA disks that have speeds in the 10-15K range.
  • Network-attached storage (NAS): A NAS is just a pile of disks attached to the network. It can be as simple as a single networked hard drive or as complex as a high-end storage array. NAS disks can be configured by whatever means you see fit. Consumer-grade storage with one or two disks is configured as RAID 0 or 1/0. Higher-end storage likely will be configured as RAID 5 by default or RAID 6 if huge disks (>500GB) are used.
  • Storage-area network (SAN): The SAN is the grand daddy of the storage market. SANs are high-performance systems that can spew huge input/output operations per second (IOPS). However,…

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