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IBM DCS3860 – Product Brief

This document is retired and no longer updated. Concise and unbiased 6-page overview of the features and functionality of IBM DCS3860. Download the free Product Brief now!


The IBM DCS3860 Storage System is a high performance system with dual controllers and up to 360 drives for block storage requirements for open systems. The DCS3860 is targeted for high performance computing needs where enterprise capabilities for storage systems are required.  The system provides advanced features that have evolved over time to provide high-value capabilities to customers.  As a system that combines high performance with advanced features, the DCS3860 can meet a wide-range of customer demands.  As a high performance system, the DCS3860 supports SAS host connectivity.


The IBM DCS3860 is a high performance storage system implemented with the traditional dual controller architecture.  Used in performance demanding environments with need for high availability, the DCS3860 provides connectivity to hosts using SAS.   The system is seen for many usage areas including as a switched SAS environment and direct attached storage in high performance computing and big data analytics environments.

  • Characteristics
    • Performance – For the DCS3860 the Storage Performance Council website should be consulted for the latest information.
    • Availability – The DCS3860 is a dual controller design which allows pathing software to fail over from one controller to another and then fail back as needed.
    • Replication for BC/DR – Not currently announced.
    • VAAI support and thin provisioning
    • Support for SSD cache called the Performance Read Cache Option
    • Turbo Performance feature to increase internal bus for greater performance
  • Applications
    • The DCS3860 is a block storage system that is used in a wide variety of applications because of the performance and interface connectivity.
  • System environments
    • The DCS3860 connects to almost all servers and operating systems.
  • Deployment and Administration
    • The management and embedded software is called IBM Storage System DS Storage Manager and can manage single or multiple systems. All configuration and control is done through the element manager including snaphshots (Flashcopy).
    • The DCS3860 is a modular system and may be expanded with additional disk shelves of different drive numbers and types. SSDs are supported as a device option.

Evaluator Group EvaluScale™: IBM DCS3860 – SAN Storage

Evaluator Group product review methodology “EvaluScale” assesses each product within a specific technology area.  The definitions of the criteria and explanations of how products are reviewed can be found in the  Evaluator Series Evaluation Guide. Download the product brief now to view the Evaluscale for this product.

Evaluator Group Opinion: Differentiating elements for IBM DCS3860

The IBM DCS3860 used as high performance block storage system should continue with enhancements to the storage system which include moves to faster processor as they become available, increased cache, and support for faster disk drives and solid state disks.  With the additional of Dynamic Disk Pools, the storage efficiency using thin provisioning and the RAID rebuild times were greatly improved, providing advanced capabilities in addition to the performance.

Evaluator Group sees this as not a standalone storage system but as a system that is integrated with Spectrum Scale and Power systems in complete, packaged offerings.

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