This was one of the most interesting questions which came up when I briefed EMC’s Federal division on the new Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) appliance.
With my recent focus on Object Storage, I hadn’t considered the ECS Block Services applications. Illustrating the block capabilities on ECS is new territory for me, and opens a whole new realm of possible system configurations.
During the briefing, there was a good discussion about the ECS block performance. Afterward, I dove deeper into the ECS block details. I connected with our ScaleIO Subject Matter Expert (SME) and our Oracle SME, and I learned a good bit in the process. I thought it would be helpful to share my findings.
Point 1: Oracle can run on most any block device. So, it’s technically possible to use ECS for Oracle.
Point 2: Oracle on ECS needs to be examined and validated on a case-by-case basis. Oracle system requirements range widely. So, just because Oracle can run on ECS, it doesn’t mean that ECS is the best platform or that ECS will meet the system’s requirements. This is an old “lesson learned” in the storage arena. We know that we have to fully understand the performance characteristics of both the system applications and its arrays.
So, where does it make sense to position Oracle on ECS? Where can we leverage ECS Block Services in our data centers?
Use Case 1: Small Scale Development Enclaves. The “Development Sandbox” use case is a great fit for ECS Block Services. With the ViPR-powered Self Service Catalog, the storage team can provide a self-service portal for the development team to stand up required classes of storage on demand. This approach reduces time to deploy, reduces administrative overhead and creates a reusable, recyclable, standard process for block data services.
Use Case 2: Extending Capacity. The ScaleIO engine for ECS is an exciting new technology. With a ScaleIO storage network, performance increases when more devices are added. So, if the system is currently performing well, and simply needs additional storage capacity, we can use ScaleIO to enable the current system, then add capacity with ECS frames.
Use Case 3: Tier 2 or Tier 3 Databases. If the storage team recognizes databases which have less demanding requirements, ECS is a great value for hosting this storage.
Bottom Line: It Depends. Like any “engineering questions,” the answer is “It Depends…” Sizing ECS Block Services for any workload requires proper engineering and analysis to ensure the system is properly sized to meet business requirements.