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Before implementing the instructions in this section, ensure several EBS volumes have already been created for a AWS SoftNAS® instance OR several VHDs for VMware vSphere based SoftNAS® VM

These EBS volumes or VHDs provide the underlying storage for SoftNAS® storage pools. Whenever a volume or VHD is added, it begins as a raw disk which means that the disk has no partitions. 

 Before disk devices can be assigned to a storage pool, the disks must be partitioned

Create a Storage Pool

  1. Click the Storage Pools option under the Storage section in the Storage Administration Panel (on the left).

  2. The Storage Pools panel will be displayed with the list of all the existing storage pools that are already allocated. To create a new storage pool, click Create

    The Add Storage Pool dialog will be displayed. 

  3. Here you can choose whether you wish to deploy a standard pool, using block or object storage, or whether you wish to create tiered storage pools via our SmartTiers™ feature. SoftNAS®’s SmartTiers™ is a multi-tiered storage environment providing automated data movement based on managed policies, ensuring that your organization can create for itself the best solution possible for managing the data explosion their organizations are currently experiencing. SoftNAS’ SmartTiers™ provides the ability to seamlessly move blocks of data from high performance, low latency storage to more economical, larger capacity storage based on the value of the data. 

    • Standard - If Standard is selected, our patented original SNAP HA™ methodology will be implemented, replicating your block storage across two nodes, with minute by minute updates to ensure parity. 
    • SmartTiers™ Pool - SmartTiers is a Platinum feature allowing the auto-tiering of aged data. If creating SmartTiers™ Pools, see SmartTiers™ Configuration.

    Click Next to begin creating your pool via the Create a New Storage Pool dialog box.

  4. Enter the name for the storage pool to be created in the Pool Name text entry box. 

    Some example storage pool naming schemes might include:

    • Generic naming: naspool1, naspool2, ...
    • Disk-type naming: SAS1, SAS2, SATA1, SATA2
    • Use-case naming: OS1, OS2, Exchange1, SQLData1, UserData1, Geology, Accounting, IT, R&D, QA, Corp01, etc.

  5. Select the redundancy level from the RAID Level drop down list. 

    Note: If using hardware RAID at the disk controller level and have a single data disk presented to SoftNAS® for a storage pool, then software RAID may not be required; in such case, select No RAID/JBOD, as the RAID is implemented at a lower level and have no need for software RAID. 

  6. Select the disks to be allocated to this storage pool. 

     Each of the devices show the Disk Availability status as Available for Use. This implies that these disks are already partitioned. New disk devices must be partitioned before use. 

  7. In the Choose Pool Options step, check the box in the Forced Creation field to overwrite any older pools on the disks selected. 

     If any of the disk devices chosen have been used as a part of another storage pool in the past (e.g., one that was deleted), use the Forced Creation option to overwrite the previous data in order to use the disk in a different pool (a precaution to prevent accidental data loss). 

  8. Decide whether you wish to add LUKS Encryption (optional).

    Adding LUKS Encryption

  9. LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) encryption is an encryption platform created by Clemens Fruhwirth in 2004 and developed for Linux, but which offers a platform-independent standard on-disk format for use in various tools. This ensures interoperability and compatibility between different programs, and ensures password management between these programs in a secure and documented manner.

    LUKS encryption allows you to add a layer of security to your SoftNAS volumes and pools, and if implemented along with Data-In-Flight encryption via SMB3 for CIFS, or by tunneling through SSH for NFS, can protect your data both at rest and in-flight.

    To add LUKS encryption check the box.

  10. In the Type dropdown, select Password.

  11. Provide a password and confirm.

    Choose the required Sync Mode

    Sync Mode is an important decision, directly affecting either performance or data integrity. SoftNAS' ZFS based solution provides a great deal of protection to ensure that your data is fully protected, but in a fail-over situation, default settings can potentially result in uncached write bursts not being committed to the target volumes. Sync Mode is one way to prevent this from occurring.  Depending on your requirements, choose the required Sync Mode:

    • standard:

    This is the default option. Synchronous file system transactions (fsync, O_DSYNC, O_SYNC, etc) are written out (to the intent log) and then secondly all devices written are flushed to ensure the data is stable (not cached by device controllers). For use cases where performance and data integrity are of equal importance, this is the best option.

    • always:

    For the ultra-cautious, every file system transaction is written and flushed to stable storage by a system call return. This obviously has a big performance penalty. However, if data loss of any kind is unacceptable for your use case, this should be your choice.

    • disabled:

    Synchronous requests are disabled. File system transactions only commit to stable storage on the next DMU transaction group commit which can be many seconds. This option gives the highest performance. However, it is very dangerous as ZFS is ignoring the synchronous transaction demands of applications such as databases or NFS. Setting sync=disabled on the currently active root or /var file system may result in out-of-spec behavior, application data loss and increased vulnerability to replay attacks. This option does NOT affect ZFS on-disk consistency. Administrators should only use this when these risks are understood. 

    Note: Another way to safeguard against data loss without compromising performance is to create a write log, or ZIL. SoftNAS strongly recommends this option for improved performance and data integrity assurance. For in-depth instructions on how to configure a ZIL/write log, see Configuring Read Cache and Write Log. Creating a write log is also covered briefly in a section below. 

  12. If the pool is to be shared (accessed by more than one person at a time), check the box for Shared.  

  13. Click Create at the end. 

The new storage pool is created and is ready for use.