Brocade Networking

Tips for Choosing the Best SAN Switch

Nowadays, organizations prefer to build their own storage network system like Storage Area Networks (SAN). It helps them meet the changing demands of data storage performance. SAN is a high-speed network that interconnects a shared pool of storage devices to various servers. But the question is how to select a SAN switch. Well, a short answer is it depends on the organization’s needs. But here, we’ll share some valuable tips to help you choose a SAN switch. So, let’s start. 

What Is SAN Switch and How Does It Work? 

It’s a high-speed network of switches and storage devices that are connected to computer systems. It makes data transmission possible between multiple servers and between various storage devices by physically decoupling storage and host. Moreover, SAN switches help backup and restore data more efficiently. 

SAN switches are also called Fiber Channel Switches. Administrators can use SAN switch to set up path redundancy in case of path failure from the storage array to switch or from the host server to switch. These switches also examine the data packet header, sends the data packet to the desired storage system, and identify the origin and destination of computing devices. 

So, now you understand how SAN switches work. Now let’s discuss how to select a SAN switch. 

How to Select a SAN Switch – Consider the Following 5 Factors

Do you want to expand your SAN fabric or add additional SAN switches? Do you want to construct a SAN fabric from scratch? Whatever you want to do, the following tips can help you choose the best SAN switch. 

  1. Size 

The size of SAN switches depends on the number of ports they have. For example, if we look at past switches, ideally, these switches have 8 to 80 ports. But today, Brocade switches are more efficient, and they have up to 128 ports and can handle the speed of up to 64 Gbps.

  1. Manufacturer 

Cisco, Qlogic, and Brocade are the leading manufacturers of SAN switches. Brocade has 2/3rd of the Fiber Channel SAN switch market share. Cisco and Qlogic are in the 2nd and 3rd spots. When we compare these manufacturers, we find that Cisco is famous due to their unique IOS operating system, and the specialty of Brocade is more speed per port. 

Brocade switch can provide a speed of up to 64 Gbps. Therefore they’re known as the fastest SAN switch on the market. Cisco and Brocade don’t only produce basic enterprise switches; they also manufacture high-performance director-class switches. 

  1. Scalability 

When choosing a SAN switch, ensure that it’s scalable. Scalable SAN switches help SAN fabric grow with the rest of the storage environment. Moreover, they help enterprises to prepare for future data demands. For example, if the demand for data is growing at a rapid pace, then choosing a scalable SAN switch is the best practice. 

SAN director is the best option for enterprises that are seeing rapid growth in demand for data. Therefore, considering future growth is the best option when selecting a SAN switch. 

  1. Look for Used Switches

If you want SAN switches to provide value, then the best practice is to select used SAN switches. In this way, your company can save thousands of dollars, and there is space for the deployment of additional hardware. 

You can easily find various vendors that offer used enterprise switches. So, if your enterprise is operating on a tight budget but wants to expand its SAN fabric, then it’s the best option. 

  1. Purchase in Pairs 

Switches have limited capabilities. Therefore, the best practice is to purchase them in pairs to get better redundancy, more power, and scalability. Moreover, when you purchase in pairs, they help reduce downtime. For example, if one switch fails, it’s easy to replace it, and you can avoid downtime. 

Pre Rack IT Can Help

Enterprises want to know how to select a SAN switch because it’s a challenging task. But the above mentioned factors can help enterprises choose the best fit for them according to their growth requirements, budget, and needs. You can contact Pre Rack IT if you need additional information or help regarding SAN switch selection.