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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. 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/, can the SAN be created so that the subdomain is pointed to the SAN IP address, and the end user can access

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
up vote 4 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. be linked so that it specifically accesses files on a specific disk?

And you'll have your answer:


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

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