When officials at the Comal Independent School District in Texas chose to have students build and maintain an electronic portfolio of their work, it seemed like a great idea from an educational standpoint. But finding data storage space for 11,000 students proved to be a challenge. To solve the problem, Glen Rogers, Comal's director of instructional technology, decided to implement a storage area network, or SAN.

SANs are the newest trend in optimizing network use and data storage. Instead of relying on the hard-disk capacity of its bank of servers for storage, a district instead uses a separate network of


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