StorSimple Virtual Appliance Release!
We (as Microsoft) have just released a great new feature ! Storsimple as a virtual appliance. This is amazing since it allows small enterprises to benefits all great features from Storsimple without actually buying the device or even for learning purpose.
This virtual appliance comes as a preconfigured VHD for Hyper-V or a VMDK for VMWare, yes VMWare you did read it well! This appliance isn’t limited to hyper-v at all.
For more informations please checkout the official announcement here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-the-storsimple-virtual-array-preview/
The virtual array can be configured as iSCSI server or as file server. You will have to choose between both but the same device won’t be able to do both in same time. It is restricted to one or the other.
let’s take a look on the process to configure the device, I’ll go for an iSCSI server for this article.
1) connect to your azure portal in order to create a storsimple manager and download the VHD. It is limited to two regions only at the time of writing this article (West US and Japan East)
Extract the VHD, I’ll do it directly into the folder where I’ll store the virtual machine
2) Create the virtual machine
For its initialization the virtual appliance must have 8GB RAM allocated and 4 vcpu otherwise the setup will stop. It must also be generation 1.
Note: The device must have connectivity to Azure. I have a router appliance on my internal network so I actually have connectivity to the outside world from my internal network.
Finish the wizzard with default options and edit the created virtual machine in order to add vcpu and add a 500 GB iscsi Data disk (dynamic can be used)
Disable Dynamic Memory for first boot if enabled (we will enable it later), if enabled the system will detect 7GB instead of 8 and won’t go into configuration mode , you wil get the following message:
3) Configure the virtual appliance
Login with the default password: Password1
The device will then enter into configuration mode for a while.
after a while if you have a DHCP in place you should have the following screen. (You will be prompted to configure an IP if no DHCP is found)
open the your browser and navigate to the identified IP
Click on Device settings and then configure name, domain , device Type ( this setting cannot be modified afterward)
Log on to your Azure subscription and go to your storsimple manager. Go on dashboard and click registration key then copy it.
then paste it into the registration key field on your storsimple interface and click register.
Your device should appear now on your Azure Portal under storsimple manager, devices tab.
Now click on your device in order to complete the configuration
Since its for demo / lab I’m not going to use encryption
At this stage your device is completely configured, you can start creating volumes (if iscsi server) or shares (if file server)
4) start creating volumes or shares
As a test I’ll create a volume and assign it to my SQL cluster.
Click on volume then ADD. fill the size of the volume you want and enable tiering if you want to. I’ll go for local pinned disk. If you are going for iscsi notice that you need to create your initiators first since you will need their iqn to create the volume (iqn can be added after volume creation though but it is not recommanded)
5) consume shares or volumes
I’ll now try to add this volume to one of my clusters.
enable and initialize the disk
And now let’s add it to the cluster.
So everything worked like a charm, my disk is now available to my cluster to become a CSV or simply be assigned to a specific instance.
Now that the device is properly configured, we can tweak the memory since it is for demonstration purpose you might now want to allow 8 GB to your appliance. Actually it can work with 1024-2048 dynamic memory assigned. It is just a bit longer to initialize.
Here we are, everything is up and running. It is time now to fully enjoy storsimple capabilities and get some self learning! Please remember that the virtual appliance is not made to host important workloads such as Virtual Machines. It’s purpose (at least for now) is user file sharing and low to mid perfomance databases.