By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2002-05-15 Print this article Print

-based SAN Zoning"> Switch Zoning is the oldest and least innovative technique for SAN partitioning. Switch zoning narrows down the traffic running through a storage-networking device so that specific ports on the switch or hub can only see other specific ports. For example, on a 4-port switch with 2 servers and 2 RAID storage units attached to it, by creating 2 zones within the switch (one zone with Server A and RAID A and a second zone with Server B and RAID B) we can force a server to use one of the assigned storage units. As a result, while the physical topology of this example looks like a star (with the Fibre Channel switch in the center) since we enabled zoning, the logical representation seen by the components is 2 separate networks. Zoning
While zoning is a simple way to divvy up storage resources, it does not take advantage of all the abilities of a SAN, and it is inefficient. For example, if you were to invest in an expensive RAID unit with 2 ports, you would only be able to hook this RAID up to two servers, since the switch ports are dedicated to one device only.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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