How to Implement Your Own SAN
How do you implement a SAN in an enterprise with a limited budget, thousands of users, a staff of three and no facilities for testing? According to Brett Littrell, network manager for the Milpitas Unified School District, you do it with a lot of care, patience, luck and sometimes a few problems.
We started looking at SANs (storage area networks) about seven years ago. We began looking at Winchester systems. We were looking at fully redundant meshed switches and SAN servers to get the most reliability, but with the technology available at that time, there was always a single point of failure that we were unable to resolve. However, that approach was too costly, so we continued to stick with the in-server disks; they were faster than running across a SAN and a lot cheaper.
We used the SAN for housing Quorum disks for clusters and that seemed to work fine. Eventually, I was asked to move our GroupWise e-mail server to the new SAN and cluster it. I was concerned about the performance, but I moved it anyway. The performance was worse then local disks, but it wasn't so bad that it was not worth the redundancy with the clustered server.