What is the ECS Appliance?

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About the EMC ECS Appliance, powered by ViPR

EMC ECS Appliance, powered by ViPR is a complete hyperscale infrastructure that provides comprehensive data storage for 3rd platform applications. It offers universal access to Object and HDFS, and block protocols on a single platform. The ECS Appliance leverages ViPR — EMC's software-defined platform that abstracts, pools, and automates a data center's underlying physical storage infrastructure.

ECS Appliance is specifically designed to support mobile, cloud, big data, and social networking applications. It delivers:

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ViPR platform overview

The ViPR platform provides the following features:

ViPR platform

  • ViPR Controller — A vApp that automates provisioning tasks. It enables you to set up one storage control point for one or more physical data centers.
  • ViPR Services include:
    • Object service—Enables you to store, access and manipulate unstructured data such as images, video, audio, and online documents as objects. You can use the Amazon S3, Atmos, or Swift APIs to develop applications.
    • HDFS — Enables you to run analytics using well known industry Hadoop distributions on objects stored on the appliance.
    • Block service — Enables block-level storage.
  • Commodity platforms — ECS Appliance is built using commodity components to ensure cost-effective storage. Commodity-based nodes manage a set of commodity disks. A software component called the ViPR data fabric is installed on each node. It provides local element manager services and acts as a distributed cluster manager.
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ECS Appliance comes in a variety of hardware configurations depending on your workload and storage needs. ECS Appliance supports the following workloads:

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Object and HDFS configurations

For object storage, the following configurations are supported within a single 40U rack:

ECS Appliance Object and HDFS offerings

If you have an existing Hadoop distribution, you can configure it to use ECS ApplianceCommodity nodes as the file system.

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Each appliance includes the following components:

The following figure shows the front and rear view of a fully populated appliance.

ECS Appliance front view

Customers connect to the appliance via 10 GbE ports and their own interconnect cables. When multiple appliances are installed in the same data center, the private switches can be connected by daisy-chain or by home-run connections to a customer-provided switch.

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An ECS Appliance is composed of four or more commodity-based nodes that include internal disk drives, CPU, memory and network interfaces. Nodes are connected to and manage a set of disk drives. EMC installs a Linux-based operating system in the factory. ViPR software is installed on the appliance when it is deployed in a data center.

Each node in the data fabric is comprised of the components shown in the following diagram.

Node components

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Network interfaces

Nodes have the following network interfaces:

  • Public: A 10GbE interface that handles all network traffic. The interface is connected to the rack's 10GbE switches in a bonded configuration. Both 10GbE switches are uplinked to the customer network through 1-4 10GbE uplinks. The IP addresses for the public interface are obtained from the customer's DHCP server when the nodes are powered on for the first time.
  • Private: A 1GbE interface used for internal administrative operations. All of the interfaces are private and are reserved for use by ECS traffic. Each node is automatically assigned two private IP addresses using the following scheme:
    • 192.168.219.port_number: This network is used for installation and maintenance activities. It supports only rack-local traffic.
    • 169.254.Rack_ID.port_number: This network handles the distributed configuration service for nodes in the cluster. It supports only data-center local traffic.
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Data center requirements

ECS Appliance deployments require a set of infrastructure services and an ESX server on which to deploy the ViPR controller. The infrastructure services include:

  • Active Directory
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • NTP
  • SMTP

ECS Appliance data center configuration example