Advanced Dell ECS Traffic Management with Enhanced DNS

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Dell ECS ™ offers scalable, high performance storage solutions across a range of workloads. In this blog, we’ll explore how ECS Connection Manager enhances Dell storage environments with real-world examples of advanced geographic load balancing using EDNS services.  

Progress Kemp ECS Connection Manager is a Dell-approved load balancing solution for ECS and PowerScale storage. Based on the award-winning LoadMaster load balancer, it adds value by providing efficient load balancing, traffic optimization, and layered security.  

ECS Connection Manager offers the following features as a standard:  

  • High performance load balancing of S3, ATMOS, SWIFT, and NFS 
  • Multi-site resilience with enhanced DNS (EDNS, Proximity, and Health-Checking) 
  • Simplification of multi-protocol environments with USGv6-certified IPv6 to IPv4 Gateway 
  • Quality of Service  

Optimizing Traffic Load on ECS Using Client Information Provided by EDNS 

EDNS is an extension to DNS that provides an option to pass the client network details across the DNS Infrastructure. This way, the ultimate DNS resolver — in this case, ECS Connection Manager — can identify the source of the request. This is important, because if any one DNS resolver along the chain does not pass the EDNS, then the ultimate DNS resolver will lose visibility on the originator and see the request as coming from the prior DNS resolver in the chain. 

With EDNS providing more client insight, ECS Connection Manager can make more informed decisions about where to direct client traffic. The obvious use case is Geolocating clients so they can be directed to a physically close service. For instance, sending European clients to a German data center and U.S.-based clients to a Chicago data center.  

This capability can also be exploited on an organization’s private network to optimize LAN and WAN traffic, as outlined in the use bases included in this blog.  

Heavy Hitters: Segregating High-Volume ECS Traffic to Optimize Overall Storage Performance 

Some storage environments in sectors such as medical imaging and media have connected devices or services that generate significant traffic volumes, which can impact other storage users. One solution to minimizing this impact is directing such traffic to specific storage nodes on the infrastructure that have been optimized for such workloads.  

When using DNS-based load balancing, ECS Connection Manager supports traffic redirection based on the client network. Integrated health-checking dynamically adjusts DNS responses to ensure clients are not connected to unavailable or unhealthy storage nodes. This integration of DNS and load balancer health-checking significantly simplifies the challenge of delivering optimized traffic management and resilience across distributed storage environments.  

In-Rack Traffic Steering: Reducing East-West Data Center Traffic

Keeping compute and storage “close” to one another is generally desirable. Some applications, such as media production and rendering, benefit when traffic is contained within a rack or pod. An example is animation rendering, where rendering nodes consume and generate large data volumes from the storage infrastructure. ECS Connection Manager can apply an affinity between compute nodes and storage nodes that exist in the same rack so that traffic is contained as much as possible within the rack or local switch fabric.  

This in-rack steering is enabled by ECS Connection Manager, which identifies the source of the request from either the client-IP or from EDNS and directs traffic based on pre-defined rules to the preferred storage node. If the preferred storage node becomes unavailable, ECS Connection Manager will stop directing traffic to this node and direct it to other available storage nodes.  

LoadMaster Simplifies the Process

LoadMaster is the premier choice for organizations requiring load balancing. With more than 100,000 deployments, LoadMaster offers the most capable solutions for load balancing, ensuring applications are secure, highly available, and running at peak performance.  

Download a free trial of LoadMaster virtual load balancer or speak to a technical expert to get help with application management and configuration.  

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Maurice McMullin

Maurice McMullin was a Principal Product Marketing Manager at Progress Kemp.