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Sun Storage Domains: What are they and why?
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TOPIC: Sun Storage Domains: What are they and why?
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Sun Storage Domains: What are they and why? 10 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 2
I often get asked to answer this for people when we're talking about Sun's mid range storage offerings, modular storage. This mostly pertains to the 2540, and 6000 storage which is backed by an LSI controller.

At the storage array level, Sun offers what is known as a "storage domain" which is an optional add on license. Without it, you can have a single storage domain and do all of your provisioning at the switch with no problem. Just publish the LUNS which produce a WWN and your switch will see it and you can zone off the LUNS to the zonesets you want them to be in.

Conversely, what if you're limited to the outbound ports on the array? What if you're available ports on the switches are limited? What if you need to take down time on the switches to provision new storage to a server. Best practices are to take everything down and present the storage to the new server / zone set and bring everything back up. This can be a major inconvenience and cause delays.

With a Storage domain, you could (not recommending it!) leave your switch unzoned or wide open and control it with the storage array itself. Domains give you the ability to tell the array which HBAs are allowed to "see" the LUN you're presenting. So if you have a SAN with multiple arrays on it, and you have some servers that do not have multipathing software (such as DMP, MPXIO, PowerPath, etc...) you can limit those hosts from even seeing the LUNS on the failover ports published on your fabric.

At first I was not a fan of Storage Domains on the array, but when they simplified some of our installations considerably without disrupting the rest of the environment in any way shape or form, I saw their value.

If you have a highly sophisticated storage area network, and everyone plays by the rules - then these won't be as valuable to you. If you've got a complicated installation and need another tool to give you isolation in a mixed environment, then storage domains are a great additional tool. Because at the end of the day, you want to get the job done and done right, this gives you the ability to provision your storage in a clean and professional manner.
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