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Defining Real Application Clusters (RAC) vs. Storage Area Network (SAN)

Oracle expert Brian Peasland explains the differences between an RAC and SAN.

For an application like a billing and charging application in a telecom company carrying a huge database, which one is a better solution.... a SAN or a RAC? I am talking in terms of availability and performance.
A SAN and a RAC are two totally different things. So, one cannot say one is better than the other. RAC is Real Application Clusters. RAC is Oracle's product which allows you to cluster one database on multiple servers. A SAN is a Storage Area Network which allows multiple servers to see the same disk storage. Typical RAC configurations use SAN's for storage, but RAC can also use other shared storage technology. So a RAC does not necessarily require a SAN, and a presence of a SAN does not always mean RAC is used.
This was last published in February 2008

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