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What is Pathing?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Sometimes referred to as path control, pathing is an approach to networking that is geared toward assessing the best way to meet the needs of a given storage network. This unique approach to a storage network is necessary since the needs are different from those of a message network. By creating an order to various communication protocols and managing those protocols effectively, pathing helps to avoid events that could damage or cripple the network.

One of the ways that pathing helps to protect storage networks is to close the window for a recovery from network errors. A standard message network is usually configured to allow recovery within a minute or two. A recovery time of this duration is not acceptable in a network storage environment. Proper pathing strategies help to close the gap and make recovery possible within seconds rather than minutes.

Effective pathing also helps to minimize the chances of a total system crash. To a degree, this is due to the quick recovery time. However, effective pathing also makes use of redundancies that constantly run and provide a safety net for various components and applications on the network. As a result, functions that could be interrupted during recovery are able to continue operating properly.

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The process of pathing has become increasingly important since the beginning of the 21st century. As more data is housed in storage area networks as well as network attached storage options, the need to define pathways with the greatest degree of efficiency and accuracy has become apparent. In part, this is due to not only the increased demands for data storage, but also because older methods usually assumed a one on one relationship between a computer and a storage medium. In today’s world where networks may involve local and remote locations and a variety of devices connecting to the network, the older approach is no longer viable in most situations. Pathing, by contrast, offers a platform that can easily be expanded as the need arises.

Engaging in pathing is not a task that novices should attempt. Professionals that are schooled in system operations, hardware and software applications, and other aspects of the storage network are in a better position to map the pathing and execute the protocols necessary to maintain the network properly. For this reason, it is recommended to always consult a technician before attempting to make any pathing changes.

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