In a stand-alone computer, an application reads and writes data to a file/record system (directory), which in turn reads and writes blocks of data to disk drives. Network storage separates storage from systems and makes storage accessible via switched networks.
In a SAN, the drives are in an array separate from the server(s) and the block read/write traffic is carried over a switched network. The transport over the network can be Internet Protocol over Ethernet (iSCSI) or Fibre Channel (FC) over a Fibre Channel switch and fibre optic cabling.
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