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Creating your First SoftNAS Cloud Instance in Amazon Web Services

Log On to AWS or Create Account

The first step to creating your instance is of course to log into Amazon Web Services, or to create an account, by going to aws.amazon.com. If you have an account already, select Sign in to Console.



If you do not, the option to create an account will be presented to you. Provide the information requested and the account will be created. 

If you already have an account, you can also go directly to the console log in page by entering console.aws.amazon.com into your browser. Provide the account credentials as prompted.

Launching your Instance from the EC2 Dashboard

Once logged into your account, you will be taken to the AWS Services screen. There, you will select EC2



Take note of the "Recently Visited Services" section. The first time you log in there will be no services listed there. However, on subsequent visits, this area will allow you to quickly access your most commonly used services. The search bar will also help you find what you need.

Once EC2 is selected, you will be taken to the EC2 Dashboard. Note the region you are in, by looking at the top right corner. This is the location of the Virtual Machine (or instance) you will create. SoftNAS allows you to place virtual machines in different regions or availability zones. This can provide additional redundancy to your instance. 



In this guide, we will be showing you how to set up two instances in a highly available configuration, across two Availability Zones. If setting up two instances across Regions, you will have to set your first instance in one Region, then move to the second Region using the above-shown menu, and repeat the process.

Once your desired Region is selected, we will create our first instance. Select Launch Instance.



Upon clicking Launch Instance, you will be taken to Step 1: Choose an Amazon Machine Image. By default you will find yourself in the Quick Start tab. Select AWS Marketplace, and in the search bar, type Softnas. Select the AMI version that best fits your needs.

  • SoftNAS Cloud Essentials - Low-cost and high performance cloud storage repositories for cloud backup, disaster recovery and archive for secondary data.
  • SoftNAS Cloud Enterprise - Full-featured, enterprise cloud NAS filer for primary data using either block, object or both types of storage.
  • SoftNAS Cloud Platinum Integrated, global cloud data platform with high speed data transfer, Lift & Shift, and storage auto-tiering of aged data.
  • SoftNAS Cloud BYOL – purchase a license from SoftNAS Sales, unlimited licenses available for large-scale solutions.






Having selected your AMI, you will next choose an instance type.  We have selected an instance size of r5.2xlarge in order to allow for a variety of deployment options, up to and including Platinum features. SoftNAS offers a sizing tool to help users find the right size for their individual workload, which can be found here:

https://www.softnas.com/wp/products/instance-size-recommendations/




Click Next: Configure Instance Details.

In Configure Instance Details, you will select the desired settings for your SoftNAS instance. 



  1. Select the number of instances. In this case, there will be 1. We will be creating two instances in a highly available configuration, but each will be set in a different availability zone, rather than duplicating the same settings.
     
  2. Select or Create a  New VPC. If you have an existing VPC, select it. If not, select Create a New VPC. Follow the instructions found in Creating a new VPC. If planning a highly available deployment, your VPC will need two subnets, each assigned to a separate availability zone.
     
  3. Next, assign a subnet. Each instance will be assigned to separate subnets within the same VPC. Take note of the subnet selected for the first instance.
     
  4. Auto-assign public IP address creates a public-facing IP address, allowing you to connect to your SoftNAS instance immediately after launch. However, this feature will be disabled automatically when we create our second network interface.
     
  5. Here you can apply an existing IAM Role, or create a new one. For more information on IAM Roles, see Creating the IAM Role for SoftNAS Cloud®.


You can also apply additional optional settings, such as shutdown behavior, protection against accidental termination, Cloudwatch monitoring, and EBS optimized instance (applied by default on SoftNAS Cloud Standard).

Scroll down the page, and you will see Network Interfaces.Create a second Network interface by clicking Add Device. (This is only optional if you are NOT creating a highly available pairing.)




Once the desired selections are made, click Next: Add Storage

In Add Storage, you can add new EBS volumes to your instance in advance. You can select volume type and size as well, within the limits of your instance size. Simply click Add New Volume for each volume you wish to add.



EBS Volumes can also be added after launch, making this step entirely optional. If you know how many EBS volumes you wish to create, as well as the volume type, adding storage here can make your deployment simpler. The only required volume is the 30 GB root volume, provided by default. Click Next: Add Tags.

Tags are an optional feature, allowing you to quickly identify an instance or set of instances according to the tag provided. You can categorize your instance any number of ways, by environment, by purpose, by owner, etc. A tag consists of a key and an optional value.




As tags are optional, you can either provide a key and value, or simply click Next: Configure Security Group. 

For the purposes of high availability, only the default ports provided by SoftNAS Cloud's Amazon Machine Image are required. These default ports are SSH for connection to the image by Command Line Interface (CLI), and HTTPS for connection to the user interface via the browser. Other ports can be opened for specific use cases, but are unnecessary for a proof of concept.

SoftNAS highly recommends locking down both SSH and HTTPS access even further by specifying an IP address or IP range that the instance will accept traffic from. This range of IP addresses, or list of IP addresses should include the internal IP address of the current and target instance (when you know it). The list of accepted IP addresses should also include the IP address you are currently logging in from, or you may not be able to access your instance. 

Note:  For beginning users, it may be simpler to keep default Security Group settings until Replication and HA are configured. Leaving Security Group configuration to the end ensures that you have all the information needed, such as IP addresses and protocols for your use case. Go to Configuring Security Groups if you need to make changes.





You have now completed the steps required to launch your instance. Click Review and Launch, and review your selections to make sure they match your needs. 



The final step before your instance launches is to create or assign a key pair. This key pair is used to connect with your instance via SSH. Without it, you will not have access to your SoftNAS Instance. The prompt to create or select an existing key pair appears automatically upon clicking Launch. Either select Create a new key pair, and provide a name, or if you have an existing key pair, select Choose an Existing key pair, then select the desired key pair from Key pair name, which becomes a dropdown. 

 

SoftNAS does NOT support proceeding without a key pair. If selecting an existing key pair, be sure you know where it can be found. If creating a new key pair, be sure you download the key pair to a known location. Download your key pair if you do not already have it, and click Launch Instances.

Return to the EC2 Dashboard, and select Instances. Your first SoftNAS Cloud Instance will appear.



Adding an Elastic IP

In order to connect to your instance via the browser will require either a public IP, or a VPN to join you to the same network as your instances, allowing you to leverage the private IP automatically supplied. 
Because we added two network interfaces to the instance, we have to associate the elastic IP address to one of these two network interfaces. It does not matter which one. In the Instance details on the bottom half of the instances screen (after your instance has been selected), find your network interfaces and select one. Write down or copy the Interface ID.



To provide a public IP, the simplest method is to assign an elastic IP. To provide your instance with an elastic IP address, scroll down the left-hand menu of the EC2 Dashboard, and select Elastic IPs under Network & Security.

If none have yet been created, you will need to select Allocate New Address. Elastic IPs can be repurposed if not assigned to an existing instance.

 

Set the scope as VPC, and click Allocate




Record the IP address provided. Click Close.



Find the Elastic IP you just created, and select it from the available options. Either right-click the IP address, or click Actions. Select Associate Address.



As we provided two network interfaces to our instance, you will need to select Network Interface and provide the interface ID recorded earlier. Click Associate



If this association is successful, you will see the following message.



Your instance will now have a public-facing IP address, allowing you to connect to your new SoftNAS Cloud® Instance.



Enter this IP address into your browser, and you are ready to configure your first instance. If testing a single instance deployment, you can move to AWS Getting Started - Configuring Your Instance. If this is a high availability deployment, move to AWS Getting Started: Creating Your Second Instance for HA.