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We are looking into SAN storage. I have been reading up on it for the last couple of months.

We will probably purchase some consulting. For the time being, can anyone suggest a way I could familiarize myself with the process of administrating a SAN without actually having the hardware?

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You do know that every SAN has a different interface don't you? the only commonality is the use of a screen, keyboard and sometimes mouse - you could practice using those if you like - otherwise you might need to narrow down your selection. – Chopper3 Jul 21 '11 at 20:57
I suppose some intricacies like zoning and managing volumes on the server side is what I'd focus on. Thank you Chopper3. Going to give a go to Starwind's product and NetApp's simulator. – Belmin Fernandez Jul 22 '11 at 23:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Take a look into the NetApp Data ONTAP Simulator, if you can.

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You can very easily set up a small SAN environment in VMware or virtualization tool of your choice. I got started by downloading openfiler and installing it in a VM, but there are many other choices, including FreeNAS, roll your own with Linux or FreeBSD with the file sharing protocols of your choice, and probably lots others.

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And that'll work real well to help the OP administer a NetApp. – womble Jul 21 '11 at 21:24
@womble It WILL help them administer a NetApp, or any other SAN on the planet, because it will help them learn about the underlying technologies used in a SAN, and understand some of the things that they will need to worry about, like protocols (iSCSI, NFS, et al), file system types (vmfs, ext3|4, zfs, et al), networking (1Gbps, 10Gbps, MTU, tuning) and client configuration. – Jed Daniels Jul 21 '11 at 21:49

HP have a VSA Appliance that you can run on VMware ESXi for 60 days. You can also get an OpenFiler appliance for ESXi too.

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EMC has the celerra VSA for testing as well:

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