An Interview with the NetApp DS4486 – a capacity optimized disk enclosure

Transcript of a fictitious interview with a disk shelf.


“I’m sitting here with the newest member of the NetApp disk shelf family, the DS4486. Welcome to the show.”


<No response>


“I will just ask you questions and assume that no response, or maybe the sound of a little whirring of a fan, reflects agreement.”




“Now, the DS4486 was released in June of 2012, is that correct?”






For our readers, let me just share some of the facts about what you are and what you bring to the NetApp product family.

  • You are a 4U high shelf
  • You hold up to 48 disk drives
  • With 3TB disk drives, that equates to 144TB of raw capacity


Good so far?”




“Currently, only 3TB SATA disks are supported. But, with all that capacity we are really talking about use cases such as content repositories and local or online archives – a nice compliment to the newly announced Infinite Volume feature.”




“Excellent. As I understand the architecture, you achieve this increased level of density with drive carriers that hold two disks. These carriers are front loading and provide benefits over top loading drive carriers in terms of serviceability, especially when the disk shelf is near the top of a rack. I guess you won’t need a step ladder to replace drives, right? Ha, ha.”




“Right. Now, having twice the number of drives in the same space as a traditional chassis means you pack some extra pounds. But, when compared to competitive dense disk chassis’, you are quite fit. In fact, a full rack of DS4486 chassis’ weighs less than 2,000 pounds, which means that you can be deployed in a raised floor data center instead of requiring a concrete floor. Nice work.”




“The DS4486 complements the NetApp portfolio of drive shelves, the DS2246, DS4243, and DS4246, which offer flexible solutions that address the needs of performance, capacity, and high availability. In addition to SAS and SATA disks, NetApp offers innovative solutions that incorporate  Flash technology, such as SDDs and Flash Cache, and our recently announced Flash Pool feature. Stop me if I’m speaking out of turn.”




“The DS4486 is supported with the FAS/V-Series 3200 and 6200 series platforms with Data ONTAP 8.1.1 and later releases. Correct?”




“Well, it has been a pleasure speaking with you today, DS4486. You seem to represent a nice offering for applications requiring high density, high capacity disk enclosures, and where data center floor space may be a premium.”


“For more information, please check out the NetApp family of disk shelves on”


It's comforting to find out that I'm not the only one who talks to disk shelves.. great interview =)


Glad you enjoyed it, Andrew.

Funny how much information we can get out of a whirr.



Are the DS4486 trays designed much like those of the E5460? (trays are attached by cable with slack so you can replace an individual disk even after pulling the tray)




no, if a disk fails, ontap will copy away the other disk as well and then you replace both disks at the same time.

kind regards,


Good to know, thanks Thomas


Good idea with the interview

Is this disk shelf also just for a limited set of configurations (like the DS4246?) or for any set the customer can think of?


Hi Peter,

The DS4486 is currently targeted at applications like content repositories where capacity and density are favored over high performance data access. As you know, performance is a relative requirement. However, if you are looking to optimize on data throughput or high IOPS, then the DS4243 or DS2246 would be the better choice.