Over the course of almost a year, I’ve been involved in the long process of picking out a new SAN for the College. The decision process is better suited for its own blog entry. I’ll just say that we came to the decision that the IBM XIV was the right choice for us. These things are great. A storage grid, which is resilliant to just about any failure (within reason) you can throw at it! I’m just worried that it may gain sentience and steal our data… 😛

So now that we’ve finalized the decision, gotten funding, purchased, and now delivered our pair of XIV’s, it’s time to start connecting hosts. We run a primarily Linux shop, so we’re focusing on making the install on linux as painless as possible.

IBM provides a host attachment kit, which is actually rather slick. They provide it in the form of a tar.gz, which contains two rpm’s, and a few shell scripts. To install, you unpack it, and run the install.sh script.

We have a Kickstart server, which we use to automate installs. So to follow suite, we’d like to automate as much of the XIV HAK install as possible. Untarring an archive, and running an install script is rather easy, but we had other thoughts. These are RPM’s, right? So why do we need this install script? All it seems to do is install the rpm’s! So i took a closer look at what install.sh does. It calls a few other scirpts, checks on a few things, including dependancies, and then installs the RPMs. Well, RPM has a dependancy check built in, so why do we need a script to do that? The rest of the script seems to check if the HAK is already installed, and then makes the environment sane for an upgrade if it’s already there. Well, that’s easy enough to do on our own. Besides, these are new install’s we’re doing. There will be no HAK already present.

So, i took the RPM’s from each arch’s package, and placed them in a YUM repository. This works beautifully! Not only does the install run by simply entering “yum install host_attach”, but it also depsolves, and grabs any dependancies which are required at install!

Once the install is finished, I reboot, because it adds items to udev, which seems like a good reason to reboot. Then i run xiv_attach, which builds a multipath config and whatnot.