Dell EMC’s ECS object store gains mid-range companion

Dell EMC has announced a mid-range ECS object store plus additional security software features to suit US DoD needs.

Effectively it has added higher-capacity drives to the entry-level chassis to create a bigger system that should cost much less than a high-end box.

Dell EMC positions ECS as building on the legacy of Centera and Atmos object storage systems. The ECS500 is a fourth generation ECS appliance and fits mid-way between the gen 3 ECS300 and ECS3000 appliances.

  • EX300 – 12 disks/2U node – 1TB, 2TB,4TB or 8TB drives – to 1.54PB/rack
  • EX500 – 12 or 24 drives/2U node – 8TB or 12TB drives – to 4.6PB/rack
  • EX3000 – 12TB drives  – 45 or 90 disks/4U node – to 8.6PB/rack


For comparison, 1U and 4U Cloudian HyperStore appliances can use 14TB drives with up to 12 or 70 per chassis.  The maximum capacities per chassis is 980TB. These Cloudian systems also store metadata in SSDS for faster access. 

NetApp StorageGRID systems come in 2U x 12 drive, 4U x 60 drive and 5U x 58 drive chassis. With 12TB drives the maximum chassis capacity is 720TB. 

The ECS range

Back in the Dell EMC camp the EX300 has 10GbitE front and backend access whereas the EX500 and EX3000 use faster 25GbitE. There is one server per node with the EX300 and EX500 systems and the EX3000 can have one or two servers per node. 

The 2U and 4U ECS chassis

The EX3000S has a single server and there are a minimum of five nodes and a maximum of eight per rack. There are two servers in the EX3000D chassis and between six and 16 in a rack. Like the EX3000S, the EX300 and EX500 have a minimum of five nodes. 

The EX3000S has either 45, 60 or 90 drives while the EX3000D supports 30 or 45 drives: that extra server takes up space in the chassis. Dell EMC said all nodes within an EX3000 rack must always have the same hard drive configuration.

EX300 nodes of differing drives sizes can be mixed if they are added in groups of four nodes at a time.

There are up to 16 EX500 appliances (nodes) per rack. All ECS systems scale out beyond a single rack.

ECS software

ECS software supports object (S3, Swift, Atmos), file (NFS v3) and HDFS access protocols.

V3.4 ECS software adds:

  • Advanced Security Technical Implementation Guide hardening, external key management support, custom alerts, and additional security features.
  • Improved monitoring metrics and native Grafana data visualisation capabilities to help make accurate forecasts and act on capacity alerts.
  • Reduced metadata overhead per object, to increase usable capacity.
  • Support for EX500.

ECS 3.4 and the EX500 appliance are available now although pricing has not been revealed. Check out an ECS architecture guide here.