When organizations are having conversations about next-generation object storage solutions, it is certain that Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is on the agenda. The industry-leading object storage platform providing customers with several consumption models such as a turnkey appliance, software- defined (leveraging commodity hardware), or as a service operated by Dell EMC. The ECS solution does, however, require one extra component to deliver the high availability, scalability and optimization for the storage system. You guessed it, a load balancer.
Kemp and Dell EMC have always had a great partnership, so it is no surprise we would have a tight integration with the ECS solution. As we work with more and more customers on this joint solution, we find more ways to bring value to the table. Dell EMC does have some customers that just require simple load balancing within a single site or better known as an ECS Virtual Data Center (VDC) but many customers require a bit more.
Security is always top of mind when it comes to any workload whether it be a web application or storage but as we all know security does come with a cost. In most cases the cost is not as much monetary as it is performance. Due to the nature of most applications, TLS processing is not something that developers are focused on, so why not just offload that to an appliance that is optimized to handle that overhead. Offloading TLS encryption on the load balancer and sending that traffic back to the ECS nodes increases the overall performance of the storage, I mean if you don’t need encryption end to end, why add unnecessary burden to the application.
When you talk about storage, efficiency is sure to come up in the discussion. Dell EMC introduces XOR storage efficiency to reduce the amount of data on the disks while still providing reliance. XOR requires a minimum of three VDCs or sites which are in an active/active/active configuration. This deployment is necessary to provide access to the objects in the event of a complete site outage. In order to gain the benefits of XOR, objects must be written evenly across the three or more VDCs and what better to control that than the load balancer. In addition, when an object is written to a VDC, that VDC becomes the owner of that object. It is the best interest to direct all reads for a particular object to the owning site of that object. LoadMaster and its URL Hash scheduling algorithm can do exactly that. By using the URL hash of the request, LoadMaster can determine the owning VDC and therefore direct reads to the correct site. Without this functionality, reads sent to a non-owning VDCs would trigger a copy of the object across the WAN, the need to cache it locally and then delivers it to the requestor. This wouldn’t necessarily be a big problem should it happen a few times but if this were to happen millions of times an hour, now we have a lot of unnecessary traffic and ECS system resources being wasted.
Many organizations have adopted IPv6 within their network topology. Today, ECS does not natively support IPv6 and therefore require a gateway between the applications accessing the storage and the storage system itself. LoadMaster can publish the storage as a virtual service on the IPv6 network and accept requests from the applications. On the back-end LoadMaster can communicate on IPv4 with ECS and serve as a translator between the two networks.
There are many other use cases we have uncovered working with Dell EMC and customers deploying ECS including global balancing and hooks into Kemp 360 Vision for increased visibility into the health and performance of the storage solution. More on that next time.