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Launching your 1st Instance from the Azure Portal

Once logged into the azure portal, you will see the dashboard. This dashboard is configurable, so it may appear with different tiles, particularly if other users have access to the same account.  To create a new SoftNAS instance, simply click New from the left-hand menu. 

 

Type SoftNAS into the search bar, and filter for the desired version. 

 


Select the desired Virtual Machine Image.

  • 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.



 

 

Click Create.

Upon clicking Create, you will be taken to the Basics section of the Create Virtual Machine (VM) Blade.




  1. Provide a name for the virtual machine you are creating.

  2. Select the type of storage you wish to provide.

  3. The username must be ‘softnas’. This account must be provisioned for login to the instance.

  4. For a production instance, it is recommended to leverage an SSH public key. However, for this POC, password is the simplest option. Provide a password with at least 12 characters, including at least two of the following: capital letters, special characters and numbers.

  5. If you have more than one subscription, select the desired option.
     
  6. As we created a storage account earlier, and in the process created a Resource Group, select Use Existing, and type the name of that resource group here.
     
  7. Select the location of the Resource Group (and by extension the SoftNAS Cloud® instance.

Click OK when the selections have been made.

Select Instance Size

Next, choose an instance size. The recommended options are a great starting point, but you can select View All to see the full range of options. Bear in mind that SoftNAS recommends a minimum of DS4v2.  For more information on Instance sizes, see Instance Size in the Project Planning section.

Click the Size desired, then click Select at the bottom.




Configuring Settings

Having selected the size, we can now move on to Settings.

From the Create VM Machine, click on Settings.

You can now apply optional settings, including Disk Type, Storage Account, Network, and more. Here you can associate the SoftNAS Cloud® VM to an existing virtual network or create a new virtual network specifically for the SoftNAS Cloud® VM.

Under Settings, click on Virtual Network. The network settings are displayed.

 


As you can see, a new virtual network is automatically set up by the Create VM wizard. However, you can associate your instance to an existing network, or modify the settings as you see fit.

Note: If creating a new network, simply provide a name for the virtual network. It is feasible to use the default CIDR block and to use the default Microsoft Azure DNS server. 

In addition to naming your Virtual Network and assigning a CIDR block, you can also modify or create a subnet, a public IP Address, a security group, etc. The menus are very similar in layout, and highly intuitive to use. Configure your instance as required, using Azure Help Menu if you have any problems or questions.



Most of the default settings are typically fine, particularly for a POC deployment. We strongly recommend  that you set the assigned IP address as a static IP, or the IP address of your instance may change whenever it is shut down/restarted. SoftNAS also recommends modifying your security group to restrict access, but this can wait until after your two virtual machines are configured. To configure your security group, see Configuring a Security Group

You will however, want to create and configure an Availability Set, as this cannot be done later. 

Creating an Availability Set

An Availability Set is designed to logically separate workloads for redundancy, eliminating single points of failure. Availability Sets make use of two key concepts - Fault Domains, and Update Domains.

Fault Domains – Eliminates single points of failure, by preventing your virtual machines from being placed on a single ‘rack’.

Update Domains – determines how many of your workloads can be down for maintenance (ie; updates) at any given time. A priority order can be set, and the number of update domains determines how many machines will be shut-down at once. (i.e., 2 update domains, half the VMs, 3 update domains, a third of the machines.)

The availability set of a VM cannot be changed after configuration.

To begin the process, scroll to the bottom of the Settings blade during instance creation, and select Availability Sets.  As this is the first instance, we will be creating the Availability Set this time around. Click Create New

Provide a name for the Availability Set, and determine how many fault domains and update domains to provide.  In this case, as we are creating an HA pair (2 machines), anything above 2 fault and update domains is excessive. 


 

Click OK at the bottom, and the Availability Set is created.

Note:  An Availability Set must be configured for your HA pairing to be covered by SoftNAS’ No Downtime Guarantee.

 

Validate and Purchase

After performing optional configuration, validate and purchase the VM.

  1. Click OK to accept any settings changes, and click OK again to validate the settings in Summary.



  2. On the next screen, review the purchase details and then click Purchase.




A new SoftNAS Cloud® instance will launch into Microsoft Azure.

Creating the 2nd Instance for High Availability

Your second instance will mirror the first.

  1. You will again log into the Azure portal, and click New (or the Plus symbol) from the left-hand menu, and type SoftNAS into the search bar.



  2. Then, select the same Virtual Machine Image that you selected for the first instance.  Click Create after making your selection.

    • SoftNAS Cloud Express – up to 1 TB of on-demand storage.
    • SoftNAS Cloud Standard – up to 20TB of on-demand storage.
    • SoftNAS Cloud BYOL – purchase a license from SoftNAS Sales, unlimited licenses available for large-scale solutions.
  3. You will again be taken to the Basics section of the Create Virtual Machine (VM) Blade.




    1. Provide a unique name for the second instance.

    2. Select the type of disk you wish to use – SSD or HDD.

    3. Provide the User name as ‘softnas’ – again, this user MUST be provisioned.

    4. Provide a password with at least 12 characters, including at least two of the following: capital letters, special characters and numbers.

    5. Choose the same subscription used for the previous instance (if there is more than one).

    6. Select Use Existing and select the same Resource Group as the first instance.

    7. The location will auto-populate with the location of the Resource Group.

    Click OK when selections are made.

  4.  Select your Instance Size. This should be the same selection made for your first instance. Bear in mind that SoftNAS recommends a minimum of DS4v2.  For more information on Instance sizes, see Instance Size in the Project Planning section.
     
  5. Next, choose your optional settings. By default, due to the selection of the same resource group, many of the network settings will use the same defaults as your first instance. If you made any changes to these network settings, they must be changed here as well.  Otherwise, the defaults should be fine.
     
  6. Select the Availability Set used for the first instance. Remember, without an Availability Set, SoftNAS’ No Downtime Guarantee cannot be applied. To select the Availability Set, simply scroll down in Settings to the High Availability section, and select the Availability Set created earlier. Click OK



  7. Next, review your selections, and click OK. Click OK again to confirm.

  8. Finally, click Purchase. Your 2nd instance is created.