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, if setting up high availability. For a backup or archive solution, this is unnecessary

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. For the purposes of this document, we will select the SoftNAS Standard HVM version.

Having selected your AMI, you will next choose an instance type. SoftNAS recommends a minimum instance size of M4.2xlarge for any use case beyond basic developer testing. 

For more information on instance sizing for your Veeam and SoftNAS® Essentials backup solution click the link below:

Selecting Your Instance Size: Essentials on AWS

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. For this use case, there will be one. Even if configuring SoftNAS high availability, only one would be selected here, as the second instance would be created in a separate availability zone.
  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. 
  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 ®.

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 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, new EBS volumes could typically be added to your instance in advance. For a backup and archive solution using SoftNAS® Essentials, block storage will not be used beyond the minimum required 30 GB root volume for SoftNAS to operate. This root volume is provided by default.  Object storage will be leveraged later. 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 '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. If you wish to be able to ping the server for testing purposes, ICMP ALL should also be configured.

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 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® Instance.

Enter this IP address into your browser, and you are ready to configure your instance.