To log into your SoftNAS Cloud® on Azure instance, you will need to find the public IP address of the instance. The public IP will be found in the Essentials section of the VM Overview.
Enter the IP address of your instance into your browser to call upon the SoftNAS login screen.
Note: Upon first login, you may see a certificate warning. This is because certificates have not yet been generated for your new SoftNAS instances. For the moment, this alert can be ignored. To add or change certificates, see the following KB article.
Enter your username and password, and click Login.
SoftNAS StorageCenter™ will open. If this is your first login, you will be greeted by the End User License Agreement. Click I Agree, and the Welcome tab and the Getting Started Checklist will open to greet you.
Once connected to your instance, there are several common configuration steps which may or may not be required, depending on your use case. The Getting Started Checklist provides a guide to these tasks.
Note: SoftNAS recommends reading the linked Release Notes. The Release Notes may contain information not only about the features and fixes, but also about whether the update will require downtime, allowing you to plan accordingly. This is not particularly relevant for a POC deployment, but important in a production scenario.
Note: Updating your software to obtain the latest features, security improvements and bug fixes is always recommended. SoftNAS takes this recommendation a step further, and has tied the latest updates to their No Downtime Guarantee. This ensures our clients are receiving the best version of our product and support to match. To be eligible for the No Downtime Guarantee, the following minimum requirements must be met:
To ensure that SoftNAS support, and you as an administrator for your SoftNAS Cloud instance, have adequate information to troubleshoot your instance, it is important to provide a means of communication. For this reason, an email address must be supplied to which support reports and logs can be sent at scheduled intervals, or if there is a specific problem.
To establish a notification email, expand Settings in the Storage Administration pane, and select Administrator. Go to the Monitoring tab, and enter the email address you wish reports and logs to be sent to.
Note: Providing a notification email is a requirement. If you do not provide one during instance configuration, you will be required to provide one prior to configuring SnapReplicate™.
Note: Support Reports and notifications will be sent to SoftNAS support automatically. The notification email is to ensure the administrator for the instance is kept apprised.
Adding storage can be done in one of two ways, in Microsoft Azure. It can be added via the Azure Portal, or via the SoftNAS StorageCenter User Interface. We will concentrate on the latter for this POC deployment, but you can review the following information if you wish to use the Azure Portal:
Adding Storage via the Azure Portal
Note: For this POC, we will provide guidance on using block storage. There are several flavors of block storage to choose from, allowing you to explore performance options. For more information about the types of block storage available, see the Storage section of Project Planning. This section will include additional information about block storage, as well object storage (Azure Blob), including Hot and Cool Storage.
After login, to add storage, select Add Storage Devices from the Getting Started Checklist, then click Configure Now, or select Disk Devices from the Storage Administration pane.
The Disk Devices tab will open. Click Add Device.
Important: You may notice a disk on your instance labelled ‘Azure Ephemeral Disk’. This is NOT a disk to be used as storage. This disk is used for caching to improve performance.
4. From the Add Disk Device wizard, select the second option, Microsoft Cloud Disk Extender. Click Next.
Provide the service administration account created earlier, to provide access to both the subscription and the storage accounts within the resource group.
Note: If your storage account is a Premium storage account, your disk size selections will be limited to 128GB, 512GB, and 1023 GB. If standard, you will be able to type any size.
Click Create Disk.
Note: SoftNAS displays "Creating..." in the Device Usage column until the Adding Disk process is complete. The process is complete when Device Usage reads 'Available to Assign'.
It is very simple to add a new disk to your SoftNAS instance using the SoftNAS UI. You can now use your newly added disks to create pools and volumes.
The next step in creating our CIFS Shared volume is to create a storage pool. In the Storage Administration pane, select Storage Pools.
Click Create to set up your storage pool.
The Add Storage Pool dialog will be displayed.
Click Next to begin creating your pool via the Create a New Storage Pool dialog box.
Note: Regardless of the option selected here, the process for configuring High Availability with SNAP HA™ remains unchanged. Dual Controller HA™ is a simple add-on to SNAP HA™. SNAP HA™ will recognize automatically which method to use based on the selection made above, and will configure high availability according to the storage pool settings. Each instance can support both standard SNAP HA™ and Dual Controller HA™ configurations in a mixed environment.
Upon clicking Next, the Create a New Storage Pool wizard will open. Fill in the required information based on the directions to follow:
Once settings have been chosen, click Create. In a few short moments, the storage pool will generate. Be sure to make note of the selections made, as you will repeat this process on the second instance.
The next step is to create the CIFS enabled volume to be shared.
Note: Thin-provisioning allows a volume to acquire storage from its Storage Pool on an as-needed basis, as new data is written to the volume. Thin-provisioning enables many volumes to share a storage pool without an upper limit being placed on the volume itself (the only upper limit to the volume's size is available space in the pool). Thick-provisioned volumes reduce the amount of space available in the Storage Pool by reserving this space for use by a specific volume. When a thick-provisioned volume reaches its maximum volume size, no more data can be written and a volume full error will be returned for writes to a full volume.
Finally, check the box to select any storage optimization options you wish to apply, remembering of course that this will affect the volume’s performance characteristics. The storage optimization options available at the volume level are compression and deduplication. Click Create, and your CIFS enabled volume is ready.
Note: You can also apply a snapshot schedule for the volume in question from Volumes and LUNs. Information on creating and managing snapshots, and snapshot scheduling can be found at the below links:
In order to test out SoftNAS’ capabilities, you may wish to simulate transfer of and ensure the integrity of data transferred across two highly available nodes. For this to be accurately tested, there should be data on the volume you wish to make highly available.
Having selected Share via CIFS during volume creation, your volume is already accessible via the same public IP address used to connect to your instance. If using a Windows operating system (Windows 7 and above) type the following into the Start Menu search bar:
Alternatively, you can type the same in Network.
A login screen will appear, in order to access the pool and volume. Enter the same credentials used to log into your SoftNAS instance.
Upon login, the volume will open as a network location folder on your PC. Drag any files you would like into the folder. You can test replication and high availability by testing access to these files after a failover.
The second SoftNAS instance must mirror the first in almost every respect. This means adequate storage space must be provided, as well as a storage pool ready to receive the volume in a failover situation.
You will NOT create a volume on the second instance. The storage pool on the 2nd instance will serve as a landing strip for the volume (and any data contained within) in a failover situation once SnapReplicate™ and SNAP HA™ have been configured.