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To most server managers, this may seem a very simple, and very stupid question! I'm not a server expert, but have been asked the question - not knowing the answer, I thought I'd improve my own knowledge by asking the question!

A customer for whom I deal with their website, wishes to add a DELL SAN into their servers, for storing a significant volume of video/image data, in addition to web files. They want to make the data accessible over the web. Now ignoring security concerns for the time being (i.e. non-authorised people being able to access the files) the question is:

can a sub-domain (i.e. san.example.com) be linked so that it specifically accesses files on the SAN?

For example, lets say there is a file on the san whose path is /abc/123/xyz.mov, can the SAN be created so that the subdomain is pointed to the SAN IP address, and the end user can access san.example.com/xyz.mov

In today's world, i'm guessing it can be, but would appreciate an authoritative view! I believe they are looking at a Dell MD1220 connected to a couple of R610 servers.

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Replace the word SAN with the word Disk drive and you'll have your answer. –  MikeyB Apr 23 '12 at 17:10
    
^ In this setup, the 'SAN' becomes a mapped drive on the server, and as long as the website knows that a particular directory (/files) is stored there, and not in the default location, you're good. –  JohnThePro Apr 23 '12 at 17:12

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes it can but what you're talking about there is a NAS not a SAN. SANs are generally considered to offer block-level services over Fibre-Channel, Fibre-Channel-over-Ethernet or iSCSI while NAS's present file-level services over NAS protocols such as NFS, CIFS/SMB, HTTP/S, WebDav etc.

So yes, if you get a NAS box you can present it via HTTP/S directly although I'd strongly urge you to have the design very significantly secured. If they insist on using a SAN they'll have to either buy a combination NAS/SAN device such as a NetApp box or put some form of web server in front of the SAN to present its data using HTTP/S.

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Course, I was forgetting that SAN is the inter connection, not the actual device! I did say I wasn't a server manager! Thanks. Purely for my own reference, can you explain the 'significantly secured' comment further? Going off what you have said, Im guessing from a security aspect the NAS (or it may be a DAS) box is different to built in HDDs/SSD? –  TIW Apr 23 '12 at 17:55

A SAN is only used to provide access to disks across a storage interface. You don't "store files on the SAN".

So now re-interpret your question as:

can a sub-domain (i.e. san.example.com) be linked so that it specifically accesses files on a specific disk?

And you'll have your answer:

Yes

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Nice use of spoiler markup! –  Ward Apr 23 '12 at 17:18

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