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IBM DS-series disk arrays

Aug 3rd 2008
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What is the IBM DS-series disk array?

The IBM DS range is a series of disk shelves with built-in RAID controllers. The IBM DS range are for use when clients systems require storage capacity beyond that offered by the systems internal disks, require storage isolated from servers to allow easier upgrades, or require external storage to be shared between multiple hosts, such as in a clustered environment.

Various different devices exist within the IBM DS range, providing a range of performance and host connectivity options to suit the needs of the application.

  • DS3200: entry-level external storage, host-side: SAS, disk-side: SAS, purpose: entry-level 2-node cluster or external storage
  • DS3400: low-end storage, host-side: fibre channel (FC), disk-side: SAS, purpose: multi-node clusters or multi-host external storage
  • DS4200: near-line storage, host-side: fibre channel (FC), disk-side: SATA, purpose: near-line data storage where IO performance is not an issue
  • DS4700: high-end cluster storage, host-side: fibre channel (FC), disk-side: fibre channel (FC), purpose: high performance multi-node cluster or external storage

How is failover handled by the DS-series?

Each array contains two RAID controllers, known as A and B. Each controller acts independently but can act as a failover device for the other if required. In the event of controller A failing, controller B will present A’s LUNs along with its own, but the host needs to be aware of this by enabling multipath support. Additionally, each host must have a path to each controller from which it can take LUNs, so unless a fabric is in use, each host must have enough HBA ports to directly attach each controller.

Are drivers, firmware and documentation available?

IBM provide a full suite of drivers, firmware and documentation. All are available online at:

How are the IBM DS-series disk array configured and set up?

A high-level overview for configuring all arrays is:

  1. Physically install hardware
  2. Attach hosts to array and array to network
  3. Configure array with management IP
  4. Configure disk RAID array
  5. Create LUN(s) within array
  6. Define host aliases
  7. Define storage partition
  8. Map hosts and LUNs to storage partition

For detailed instructions:

  • Configuring the DS3000
  • Configuring the DS4000

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