Investigation and Design of Software Defined Networking Applied to Storage Area Network Connectivity

Gary Allen Fisher, Pace University


A large enterprise with a critical reliance on Information Technology (IT) must manage a wide variety of connectivity products and protocols such as Local Area Networks (LAN) and Storage Area Networks (SAN). SANs and LANs intersect in large enterprises with multiple data centers but require different tools for similar tasks. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a new and evolving set of techniques, tools, and standards intended to virtualize existing Internet Protocol (IP) networks and make their configurations more flexible and respond rapidly to a variety of requirements. SDN allows network engineers to simplify and automate network management with open protocols that can reduce cost. SANs are proprietary, expensive, and can be complex to configure and manage, which are many of the problems that engendered SDN for LANs, but SDN has not been extended to manage them. Some proprietary attempts to paint SANs as more SDN-like do not make them open, simple, and easier to integrate and automate, which are some key drivers of SDN. This paper investigates how SDN can be extended to manage SANs as well as LANs. SDN V1.2 added experimental match fields which enable switching SAN traffic in the same way as LAN traffic. Comparisons of current SAN management and methods using SDN experimenter match fields designed herein are shown. Using SDN to handle both SANs and LANs can address some issues of complexity and configuration to make it simpler to manage and automate these mixed environments as a whole. Using these modifications, SDN switches could manage both LANs and SANs, not as an overlay or a diluted proprietary solution, but as a simple, cheaper, open solution that is easier to deploy and automate. These modifications show that SDN enables innovation, one of its first driving factors.

Subject Area

Computer science|Information Technology|Computer Engineering|Web Studies

Recommended Citation

Fisher, Gary Allen, "Investigation and Design of Software Defined Networking Applied to Storage Area Network Connectivity" (2020). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI27999282.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)