The vast majority of current Fibre Channel implementations are Direct Attached Storage implementations like the one we set up in our tutorial above. While these are suitable for high performance storage for a single server, the biggest benefit of SANs are their ability to centralize storage into a shareable pool which all servers can utilize.
The biggest obstacle to centralized storage is not Fibre Channel or the software created to manage it--the problems come from server operating systems. Since operating systems like Microsofts Windows 2000 and Sun Microsystems Solaris arent designed to share storage with other servers, SAN hardware and software needs to be used to ensure that servers only have the ability to use assigned SAN storage resources.
Currently there are three major methods for controlling hosts and storage resources in a SAN:
- LUN Masking
- Storage Virtualization