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In computer networking, a virtual storage area network (VSAN) is a collection of ports from a set of connected Fibre Channel switches, that form a virtual fabric. Ports within a single switch can be partitioned into multiple VSANs, despite sharing hardware resources. Conversely, multiple switches can join a number of ports to form a single VSAN.

Cisco Systems designed VSANs modelled after the virtual local area network (VLAN) concept in Ethernet networking, but applying the idea to a storage area network. In October 2004 the Technical Committee T11 of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards approved VSAN technology as a standard of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

A VSAN, like each Fibre Channel (FC) fabric, can offer different high-level protocols such as FCP, FCIP, FICON, iSCSI. Each VSAN is a separate self-contained fabric using distinctive security policies, zones, events, memberships, and name services. Traffic is also separate.

Unlike a typical fabric that is resized switch-by-switch, a VSAN can be resized port-by-port.

The use of VSANs allows the isolation of traffic within specific portions of the network. If a problem occurs in one VSAN, that problem can be handled with a minimum of disruption to the rest of the network. VSANs can also be configured separately and independently.

See also[edit]

  • Storage area network
  • Fibre Channel
  • Fibre Channel fabric
  • VLAN, for analogous mechanism in Ethernet
  • vSAN, for Software defined storage. vSAN (formally called Virtual SAN or VSAN) is a software-defined storage offering from VMware that enables enterprises to pool their storage capabilities and to instantly and automatically provision virtual machine storage via simple policies that are driven by the virtual machine.