IBM Readies More i5-Friendly DS8000 Arrays
March 27, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The word on the street is that IBM is getting ready to substantially beef up its DS8000 series of disk arrays to better support iSeries servers, which stands to reason given the licensing agreement between Big Blue and rival EMC that we report on elsewhere in this issue.
In October 2004, in the wake of the “Squadron” Power5-based i5 and p5 server announcements, IBM delivered a disk array based on the same electronics as the i5/p5 570 server that provides either two or four mirrored processing cores to run disk array and other add-on software functions. The DS8100 has from four to 64 server ports, while the DS8300 supports up to 128 host ports. The DS8100 has from two to 16 host adapters, while the DS8300 supports up to 32 host adapters. Each adapter on these arrays connects to a four-port, 2 GB/sec Fibre Channel interface; if FICON is used on a mainframe, there are only two host adapter interfaces.
According to sources familiar with IBM’s plans, the DS8000 arrays will move to mirrored eight-core SMP servers–probably based on either the i5/p5 570 or the denser p5 575 motherboard, the latter being used for supporting supercomputing workloads. Reports also indicate that IBM will extend the remote SAN booting capabilities that was delivered in the fall of 2005 with i5/OS V5R3M5 such that SAN-attached tape as well as SAN-attached disk will be able to be the boot device on a System i5 server. And, as the rest of the industry is gradually doing, Big Blue will deliver 4 Gb/sec, dual-port Fibre Channel host bus adapters so the System i5 line can link into high-speed SAN switched fabrics.