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Apologies if this is a stupid question but my only previous experience with SAN technology is using a SAN virtualisation tool (StarWind iSCSI SAN Free). This tool comes with a management interface that allows for iSCSI targets to be configured on the simulated SAN that can then be accessed.

My question is basically: How is physical SAN device managed?

Is an operating system required to be installed on the SAN device and then managed via software? Or can it be managed remotely via an application with no OS on the device?

Thanks for any help.

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closed as not constructive by Tom O'Connor, HopelessN00b, ewwhite, Chris S Dec 12 '12 at 16:13

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Very Carefully. –  Tom O'Connor Dec 12 '12 at 16:05
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All computer devices essentially function on the same basic principals. They all have hardware the does some processing, they all have software of some kind that manages the hardware resources and serves some sort of "value" to consumers. A SAN Storage device is no different, it has software running on it (commonly a custom OS); firmware is really just software these days. The same management techniques apply, local via CLI or GUI; remote via Web interface or management protocols or custom app or even CLI type access. There's no magic anymore... –  Chris S Dec 12 '12 at 16:12
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Do you have a particular storage device in mind? I would refer to that manufacturer's documentation. Most often, this is done via a management interface; usually web-based. Sometimes, there's a command-line interface as well. –  ewwhite Dec 12 '12 at 16:14
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Edit: As @Pauska points out in his answer, you're referring to managing shared storage, not necessarily a SAN. Many times, "SAN" is used in the context you use it, so I didn't point it out originally, but it's important to understand this as a beginner.

Different manufacturers handle it differently. Most have a management application that runs on a remote computer. Some have a web interface, some don't. Some have rudimentary options with a console connection, some don't. Almost all of them hav a CLI of some sort and have SSH access or similar available.

Basically, each manufacturer can choose to do whatever they want, there's no universal standard.

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Thanks @MDMarra. You seem to have the answer to have every question I have on here! –  slickboy Dec 12 '12 at 16:29
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I think you have the concept of a SAN a bit wrong.

SAN stands for Storage Area Network (like LAN = Local Area Network). It's basically just the back end of your storage. Storage arrays do the actual datastorage, while storage networks do the transport of the data.

A computer connected to a dedicated storage network with a iSCSI disk shared (like Solarwinds) is in a SAN. It's not a great one, but it's there.

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