Open-ESS - v 5.0.0

Open-ESS is the integration of WildFire's Enterprise Storage Stack into the Open-E DSSv7 SAN/NAS storage manager.

Open-E DSSv7 is a high-speed SAN/NAS application that runs on industry standard x86 64-bit server class hardware. Open-E supports a broad range of SAN (block) and NAS (file) storage function over a broad range of networking interfaces.

You can get more information about Open-E DSSv7 capabilities at:

With ESS pre-integrated into the Open-E platform, you get the performance, wear, and cost benefits of ESS and an all-Flash array with the ease of use of the Open-E fully integrated SAN/NAS platform.

Quick Start If you are experienced with Open-E, you can just straight to the Open-ESS Quick Start Guide.

Getting Started You should read the Open-E DSSv7 install docs first.

System Planning:
Open-ESS works with all of the same hardware that Open-E DSSv7 work with.  Refer to the Open-E specs for supported hardware.  All DSSv7 features are available with Open-ESS including options like Fiber Channel and Replication.

SSD Arrays:
Open-ESS works with an all-SSD primary array.  With the initial release, only a single all-SSD array is supported.  This limitation may be lifted in future releases.

The all-SSD array consists of either SATA or SAS SSDs attached to host bus adapters and used with software RAID.  The use of hardware RAID adapters is not supported.  Hardware RAID adapters that are configured as “pass-thru” adapters will work, but are not recommended.

RAID-5 and RAID-6 are supported with 0, 1, or 2 hot-spare drives.  The minimum array size is four disks.  RAID-0 is not supported as this does not provide any drive-level failure protection.  RAID-10 is not supported as RAID-5 and RAID-6 are faster than RAID-10, wear the SSDs slower, and provide much better value.

Disk Controllers:
For small system, motherboard SATA controllers can be used.  You should check total bandwidth of the motherboard controllers to get an idea of array performance.  For example, some systems have 10 SATA-3 ports, but only have 2 GB/sec of bandwidth between the SATA ports and the CPU.  In this case the interconnect will limit the performance of the array.

WildFire-Storage highly recommends solutions using LSI (now Broadcom) 3008, 3216/3224, 3408/3416 controller chips.  These chips are frequently included as on-board controllers on motherboards and are also available as board-level host-bus-adapter from Broadcom.  With 16 and 24 port controllers, the 8-lane PCI-e bus may limit bandwidth.

Network Interfaces:
All interfaces supported by DSSv7 are supported by Open-ESS.  Remember that SSDs are fast.  In nearly all cases, the SSDs are faster than the network.  Even with 40 Gigabit Ethernet, the SSDs are faster than the network.  Because of this, hardware selection does not have to be “perfect” at every level.  Limiting disk IO to a single 8-lane PCI-e slot might be slower than the SSDs, but this is unimportant if you have only 10 GigE network ports.

Nearly any SSD can be used with ESS.  ESS tends to normalize the performance of SSDs such that the performance differences between “high end” versus “entry level” SSDs are reduced.  When looking for an SSD, you should look for:

  • Reliability
  • Stable performance during linear writes:  SSDs than have “boost technology” or slow “long term” write performance should be avoided.
  • SSDs that compress data may perform slightly worse with the initial Open-ESS release.

SSD random write performance is not a relevant spec for use with ESS.  As such, features such as “over provisioning” do not help ESS performance or reduce drive wear.

ESS is fully compatible with:

  • MLC and TLC Flash
  • 3D Flash

Pre-Install Items:
Before you install DSSv7, you should erase your SSDs.  SSD need to start empty.  A secure erase from Linux is best.  Note that some new SSDs come with pre-configured partitions and these should be removed before you try to use the SSD with Open-ESS.
Installing Open-ESS:
Start with a clean Open-E DSSv7 install to stable boot media.  While DSSv7 will function booting from a USB stick, USB sticks are famously unstable.  The boot disk should be a small SSD, DOM, or hard drive.

Open-ESS Install Media: You can download the correct version of Open-E DSSv7 and the ESS "update package" from these links:



Install Open-E first, and then before you create a system volume, install the "upd" package.Once Open-E is installed, you need to install the “ESS Update Package”.  This is done from the “System software update” function.  You access this function under “Maintenance|Software Update”.  This update requires a reboot.


image 1


After the reboot completes,  you need to access the text console.  From the console, access the “Hardware Configuration” tool by pressing <ctrl><alt>W.  You will see a menu with ESS as an option.  Selecting this option, you will see a menu for ESS administration.


image 2


Before you continue, update ESS to the latest release by selecting:

2) Update ESS

After you update ESS, exit the ESS admin utility and re-run it to make sure you are using the latest ESS release.

The test-based ESS utility should then be used to:

a) Enter an ESS license code.

b) Create the ESS array.

After the ESS array is created, you can return to the DSSv7 web interface to create the primary volume group and start using DSSv7 functions with ESS backed SSD storage.

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