Host connection is a vital part of any storage system deployment procedure. Basically, a host is the physical computer or virtual machine that uses storage resources of the storage system, rather than having its own local storage. Accordingly, the hosts are defined on the storage system itself, allowing for this interaction.
Only hosts that are mapped to storage volumes can access those volumes on the storage system. Also, all host I/O operations must be equitably distributed among the storage interface modules. This workload balance is ensured by the storage administrator, who also monitors and assesses it over time when host traffic patterns change.
However, the host operating systems and network protocols come in different types and vendors. This variety presents a challenge to host administrators who must configure the host properly before it can perform on-going and uninterrupted I/O operations on the storage system. This is where the IBM Storage Host Attachment Kit (HAK) comes in handy.
The HAK for the IBM Spectrum Accelerate family – namely XIV, FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R, as well as the software-defined storage (SDS) Spectrum Accelerate deployable software – provides the host administrator with all the required tools for automatic and simpler host diagnostics, configuration, and attachment to the storage system. In addition, the HAK facilitates the monitoring and management of storage volumes from the host.
The HAK can be run on Linux (RHEL or SLES), Microsoft Windows Server, or IBM AIX hosts, and uses iSCSI or Fibre Channel SANs for connecting to the storage systems. Moreover, you can forgo the host installation altogether and use the HAK as a portable package (disk-on-key version). This allows you to run its utilities from a shared network drive or a portable USB flash drive.
Once the host is attached to storage system, defined on the storage device itself, and have the storage volumes mapped to the host, you can:
- Display information about connected storage arrays and volumes.
- Configure connectivity parameters.
- Run host diagnostics.
- Gather configuration information on the host and create host profile that can then be shared with different IBM internal technical support systems.
In all, the IBM Storage Host Attachment Kit is a nifty small-footprint program, indispensable for fast and smart storage deployment. Provided free of charge, it’s available for download from the IBM Fix Central.
For information about the latest version, check IBM Knowledge Center.