Difference Between Storage Area Network and System Area Network

Modern society revolves around the infinite chain of computer networks.


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Whether it’s banking or taking classes, everything is a part of a computer network, or it would be more accurate to say that computer networks are part of almost every activity.

Storage area networks and system area networks are two different types of computer networks providing additional services to people.

Storage Area Network vs System Area Network

The difference between a storage area network and a system area network is that a storage area network makes a connection to get access to multiple storage devices regardless of their position. On the other hand, a system area network provides a link between several computer systems to allow them to work as a single entity. One of them is associated with storage, while the other is based on connection.

Storage Area Network vs System Area Network

A storage area network facilitates a person to get access to block-level data. It is generally utilized to locate data storage devices such as tape libraries and disk arrays.

Tape libraries are those that contain several tape drives. Storage area networks make a machine appear as a directly attached storage to an operating system.

System area networks are mainly used to interconnect computer clusters. A computer cluster is a group of various computers working together, and with the assistance of a system area network, they function as a single entity.

The mode of connection provided by the system area network is connection-oriented. One of the high-performance system area networks is used by SQL server 2005 of Microsoft.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonStorage Area NetworkSystem Area Network
InventionThe concept of a storage area network was introduced to the world in 1993. There is no specific year or person behind the invention of the system area network.
Full nameThe storage area network is the expanded form of the most commonly used term SAN. System area network is not known by any other term. It is only referred to as a system area network.
Area spanThe area span of the storage area network can go up to 10 kilometers. The area span of the system area network is very short-ranged compared to the storage area network.
SpeedThe data transfer speed provided by the storage area network can be about 100 Gbps. The data transfer speed provided by the system area network can be about only 1Gbps.
MaintenanceThe maintenance procedure of the storage area network can be complex and tricky due to multiple servers. The maintenance procedure of the system area network is convenient and affordable compared to the storage area network.

What is Storage Area Network?

A storage area network is a high-speed network that provides mass-level network access to storage. It is becoming a more prominent method to achieve the aims of small businesses.

SAN is also highly used by cloud technology creators. They mainly focus on accessing data storage devices like tape libraries and disk arrays from any server.

The SAN servers are used to access SAN, which is further connected to the host adapters. In the Storage Area Network, several devices like hosts, switches, and storage equipment are connected through various technologies.

The servers which provide connectivity to the SAN and its instruments are named as Host layers. There are multiple purposes fulfilled by SAN.

It improves the application availability, including data paths. Various Business continuity management activities are managed by SAN.

It also raises storage utilization and effectiveness. Hence, it helps in keeping data more secure.

SAN also enhances the performance of applications.

It helps in interconnecting various storage devices to several servers, and it appears to be locally attached.

SAN is effectively used in editing videos that require higher data transfer rates because it provides fair bandwidth usage. Bandwidth, Latency, and Queue depth are the critical factors that affect SAN’s quality of service.

What is a System Area Network?

System area network is generally used by organizations and companies to create computer clusters. It is challenging and time-consuming to monitor each desktop individually.

Hence to avoid such circumstances, big organizations rely on system area networks.

It interconnects several devices and creates a single entity. The workflow then is not affected negatively.

System area network has stunning performance and connection-oriented network system.

System area networks are based on NIC (network interface controller) and use an IP address to establish a high-speed connection among several computers.

These IP addresses are assigned to the system area network by TCP/IP. Also, the system area network provides built-in reliable transport for the data transmission.

Sometimes, the clusters of a client’s computer and the company’s servers are interconnected by system area networks. Hence, the system area network is essential in every aspect.

The range of areas covered by the system area network is concise. The main specification of the system area network is that it sends data in its original form.

System area network doesn’t let the data get corrupted by any third party or some sort of malware. It is also one the primary reason why many organizations use system area networks for performing specific tasks.

The endpoints in the connection of the system area network do not require IP addresses.

Main Differences Between Storage Area Network and System Area Network

  1. Storage area networks can be costly to arrange by a person because it involves many locations and various servers. On the other hand, system area networks are not that costly.
  2. Looking after the hardware of the storage area network is difficult. On the other hand, system area network is used by companies due to low maintenance.
  3. Storage area networks are very fast, providing 100 Gbps of speed. On the other hand, system area networks are comparatively slower than storage area networks.
  4. Storage area networks cover a large area that can expand up to 10 kilometers. On the other hand, system area networks are limited within a specific building or a company.
  5. Storage area networks were introduced by Thomas Zimmerman and his fellow assistants in 1993. On the other hand, no such information is available about the system area network.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2MW8Dh7m_0oC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=storage+area+network&ots=4slGFrq6fe&sig=mX7ABM5Fhetzy55xA_uNGSC6Gvk
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/122098.122100
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