A storage area network (SAN) is configured to connect storage devices, servers, and switches to support multiple users.
Companies use a SAN to provide the same pool of shared storage devices to multiple servers and access points.
See below to learn all about the global SAN market:
See more: 5 Storage Area Network (SAN) Trends
The SAN market had an estimated value of $17.82 billion in 2019. With a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% between 2020 and 2027, it is expected to reach $23.47 billion by the end of the period.
Several geographic regions are driving growth in the market.
- North America had 36.8% of the market share, valued at $4.8 billion, in 2019
- China has the second largest market, estimated to reach $35.1 billion by 2027 following a CAGR of 43.2%
- Canada and Japan are anticipated to grow by a CAGR 38.9% and 42% from 2020 to 2027
- Germany is expected to maintain a CAGR of 31.1% until 2027
By industry, SAN solutions are most commonly sought after by:
- Banking, financial service, and insurance (BFSI)
- IT and telecommunications
- Energy and utility
- Retail and e-commerce
SAN systems have a great potential for upscaling and hosting many storage devices and granting access to numerous users. A SAN can be deployed in one of two ways, depending on the type of networking technology used.
iSCSI stands for Internet Small Computer Systems Interface. It’s an internet block protocol used in building storage networks across an Ethernet connection. An iSCSI SAN solution routes the traffic over a shared or dedicated network for storage.
Using iSCSI SAN improves storage usage and manageability by reducing the overall costs of operation. It also doesn’t require specialized initial hardware and can be deployed using the same equipment as a local area network (LAN).
Fiber Channel SAN
Fiber Channel SANs are deployed on top of fiber networks, creating a connection between storage points and devices throughout the network using routers, gateways, and switches.
Using fiber for SAN solutions is usually more specialized, but it offers high-network speeds between all of a network’s endpoints. It’s ideal for high-traffic and high-access storage areas.
SANs primarily work by taking storage out of individual servers and facilitating easy access as well as centralized management and protection of the stored data. All storage devices are connected through an external network to centralized servers.
Benefits of SAN
Using SAN to manage storage with a large network of devices comes with a range of benefits that make it the go-to option for many businesses.
- Advanced management features
- High scalability
- High-end security capabilities
- Fast data transfer
- Optimized for disaster recovery
- Easy data duplication
- Dynamic storage tiering
“SANs have traditionally used the SCSI protocol over FC. Future SANs will use the emerging, low-overhead NVMoeF (NVMe extended to work on fabrics) protocol over Ethernet,” says Jai Menon, a member of the Forbes Technology Council.
“Also, SAN arrays are being built as software on standard x86 servers, and there is no premium of pricing.”
SAN use cases
Here are several examples of how SAN is being used by organizations in different industries to solve data storage problems.
Shibuya is a provider of IT services for business infrastructure in Sweden. Part of the Pulsen Group, Shibuya provides custom IT solutions in the Nordic region.
Looking to grow as a business with data-intensive applications, including artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and analytics, Shibuya needed a cost-effective solution for its IT infrastructure. Deploying IBM Storage Networking SAN46B-6 allowed it to meet its clients’ demands.
“Using flexible, cost-efficient IBM technology, we can provision cloud environments that precisely match our customers’ business priorities,” says Christian Wibeck, head of business development at Shibuya.
“In our industry, saying that we use IBM technology opens doors and gets people’s attention, helping us grow our market share.”
Keelings is an Ireland-based multinational supplier of fresh produce, with 2,400 employees and operations in 42 countries. Its main focus is growing, sourcing, shipping, marketing, and selling fresh produce along with produce-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
When it started outgrowing its legacy SAN system, Keelings engaged Pure Storage to help improve its storage performance and provide maintenance work on its spinning-disk systems.
Pure Storage’s Evergreen storage business model allowed Keelings to deploy its storage once and upgrade it as needed over time. Keelings gained proactive support alongside its on-premises IT staff and is able to upgrade storage without interrupting business operations.
“The Pure Evergreen storage model was a massive selling point. With Pure Storage, you’re taking storage to the next level, coping with business requirements a lot of companies will have now and in the future,” says Dave Clarke, assistant group IT manager at Keelings.
“The support from Pure Storage was very good. The interface is very usable, with everything labeled and well thought out.”
University of Würzburg
The University of Würzburg is a public research institution in Germany. Founded in 1402, the university has 28,000 students studying a wide variety of subjects, in addition to 4,000 researchers and faculty members.
With an IT team of 50 professionals, the university needed to install a flexible and scalable storage and server infrastructure to store and access its student and research data.
Working with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the University of Würzburg integrated a complete solution of storage devices, servers, and Fiber channels for its network components, including its StoreFabric SAN architecture. It’s a long-term solution that allowed the university enough of a buffer in both its SAN and tape libraries for years to come.
“With the two HPE 3PAR StoreServ 7400 and HPE StoreEver ESL G3 tape libraries with LTO-6 tapes, we now have a large enough buffer to be able to cope with the increasing data volumes our facilities will generate over the next few years,” says Matthias Reichling, deputy data center manager and centralized and decentralized services manager, University of Würzburg.
“We’ve always had excellent experiences with HPE hardware and fantastic service from its partner Bechtle.”
Some of the leading players in the SAN market include:
- Dell Technologies
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
- Hitachi Vantara
- Pure Storage
- Nimble Storage