Tutorial: Create an NFS Azure file share and mount it on a Linux VM using the Azure portal

Azure Files offers fully managed file shares in the cloud that are accessible via the industry standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol or Network File System (NFS) protocol. Both NFS and SMB protocols are supported on Azure virtual machines (VMs) running Linux. This tutorial shows you how to create an Azure file share using the NFS protocol and connect it to a Linux VM.

In this tutorial, you will:

  • Create a storage account
  • Deploy a Linux VM
  • Create an NFS file share
  • Connect to your VM
  • Mount the file share to your VM

Applies to

File share type SMB NFS
Standard file shares (GPv2), LRS/ZRS No No
Standard file shares (GPv2), GRS/GZRS No No
Premium file shares (FileStorage), LRS/ZRS No Yes

Getting started

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

Sign in to the Azure portal.

Create a FileStorage storage account

Before you can work with an NFS 4.1 Azure file share, you have to create an Azure storage account with the premium performance tier. Currently, NFS 4.1 shares are only available as premium file shares.

  1. On the Azure portal menu, select All services. In the list of resources, type Storage Accounts. As you begin typing, the list filters based on your input. Select Storage Accounts.
  2. On the Storage Accounts window that appears, choose + Create.
  3. On the Basics tab, select the subscription in which to create the storage account.
  4. Under the Resource group field, select Create new to create a new resource group to use for this tutorial.
  5. Enter a name for your storage account. The name you choose must be unique across Azure. The name also must be between 3 and 24 characters in length, and may include only numbers and lowercase letters.
  6. Select a region for your storage account, or use the default region. Azure supports NFS file shares in all the same regions that support premium file storage.
  7. Select the Premium performance tier to store your data on solid-state drives (SSD). Under Premium account type, select File shares.
  8. Leave replication set to its default value of Locally redundant storage (LRS).
  9. Select Review + Create to review your storage account settings and create the account.
  10. When you see the Validation passed notification appear, select Create. You should see a notification that deployment is in progress.

The following image shows the settings on the Basics tab for a new storage account:

Screenshot showing how to create a storage account in the Azure portal.

Deploy an Azure VM running Linux

Next, create an Azure VM running Linux to represent the on-premises server. When you create the VM, a virtual network will be created for you. The NFS protocol can only be used from a machine inside of a virtual network.

  1. Select Home, and then select Virtual machines under Azure services.

  2. Select + Create and then + Azure virtual machine.

  3. In the Basics tab, under Project details, make sure the correct subscription and resource group are selected. Under Instance details, type myVM for the Virtual machine name, and select the same region as your storage account. Choose the default Ubuntu Server version for your Image. Leave the other defaults. The default size and pricing is only shown as an example. Size availability and pricing are dependent on your region and subscription.

    Screenshot showing how to enter the project and instance details to create a new V M.

  4. Under Administrator account, select SSH public key. Leave the rest of the defaults.

    Screenshot showing how to configure the administrator account and create an S S H key pair for a new V M.

  5. Under Inbound port rules > Public inbound ports, choose Allow selected ports and then select SSH (22) and HTTP (80) from the drop-down.

    Screenshot showing how to configure the inbound port rules for a new V M.

    Important

    Setting SSH port(s) open to the internet is only recommended for testing. If you want to change this setting later, go back to the Basics tab.

  6. Select the Review + create button at the bottom of the page.

  7. On the Create a virtual machine page, you can see the details about the VM you are about to create. Note the name of the virtual network. When you are ready, select Create.

  8. When the Generate new key pair window opens, select Download private key and create resource. Your key file will be download as myVM_key.pem. Make sure you know where the .pem file was downloaded, because you'll need the path to it to connect to your VM.

You'll see a message that deployment is in progress. Wait a few minutes for deployment to complete.

Create an NFS Azure file share

Now you're ready to create an NFS file share and provide network-level security for your NFS traffic.

Add a file share to your storage account

  1. Select Home and then Storage accounts.

  2. Select the storage account you created.

  3. Select Data storage > File shares from the storage account pane.

  4. Select + File Share.

  5. Name the new file share qsfileshare and enter "100" for the minimum Provisioned capacity, or provision more capacity (up to 102,400 GiB) to get more performance. Select NFS protocol, leave No Root Squash selected, and select Create.

    Screenshot showing how to name the file share and provision capacity to create a new N F S file share.

Set up a private endpoint

Next, you'll need to set up a private endpoint for your storage account. This gives your storage account a private IP address from within the address space of your virtual network.

  1. Select the file share qsfileshare. You should see a dialog that says Connect to this NFS share from Linux. Under Network configuration, select Review options

    Screenshot showing how to configure network and secure transfer settings to connect the N F S share from Linux.

  2. Next, select Setup a private endpoint.

    Screenshot showing network-level security configurations.

  3. Select + Private endpoint.

    Screenshot showing how to select + private endpoint to create a new private endpoint.

  4. Leave Subscription and Resource group the same. Under Instance, provide a name and select a region for the new private endpoint. Your private endpoint must be in the same region as your virtual network, so use the same region as you specified when creating the VM. When all the fields are complete, select Next: Resource.

    Screenshot showing how to provide the project and instance details for a new private endpoint.

  5. Confirm that the Subscription, Resource type and Resource are correct, and select File from the Target sub-resource drop-down. Then select Next: Virtual Network.

    Screenshot showing how to select the resources that a new private endpoint should connect to.

  6. Under Networking, select the virtual network associated with your VM and leave the default subnet. Under Private IP configuration, leave Dynamically allocate IP address selected. Select Next: DNS.

    Screenshot showing how to add virtual networking and private IP configuration to a new private endpoint.

  7. Select Yes for Integrate with private DNS zone. Make sure the correct subscription and resource group are selected, and then select Next: Tags.

    Screenshot showing how to integrate your private endpoint with a private DNS zone.

  8. You can optionally apply tags to categorize your resources, such as applying the name Environment and the value Test to all testing resources. Enter name/value pairs if desired, and then select Next: Review + create.

    Screenshot showing how to add tags to resources in order to categorize them.

  9. Azure will attempt to validate the private endpoint. When validation is complete, select Create. You'll see a notification that deployment is in progress. After a few minutes, you should see a notification that deployment is complete.

Disable secure transfer

Because the NFS protocol doesn't support encryption and relies instead on network-level security, you'll need to disable secure transfer.

  1. Select Home and then Storage accounts.

  2. Select the storage account you created.

  3. Select File shares from the storage account pane.

  4. Select the NFS file share that you created. Under Secure transfer setting, select Change setting.

    Screenshot showing how to change the secure transfer setting.

  5. Change the Secure transfer required setting to Disabled, and select Save. The setting change may take up to 30 seconds to take effect.

    Screenshot showing how to disable the secure transfer setting.

Connect to your VM

Create an SSH connection with the VM.

  1. Select Home and then Virtual machines.

  2. Select the Linux VM you created for this tutorial and ensure that its status is Running. Take note of the VM's public IP address and copy it to your clipboard.

    Screenshot showing how to confirm that the V M is running and find its public I P address.

  3. If you are on a Mac or Linux machine, open a Bash prompt. If you are on a Windows machine, open a PowerShell prompt.

  4. At your prompt, open an SSH connection to your VM. Replace the IP address with the one from your VM, and replace the path to the .pem with the path to where the key file was downloaded.

ssh -i .\Downloads\myVM_key.pem azureuser@20.25.14.85

If you encounter a warning that the authenticity of the host can't be established, type yes to continue connecting to the VM. Leave the ssh connection open for the next step.

Tip

The SSH key you created can be used the next time your create a VM in Azure. Just select the Use a key stored in Azure for SSH public key source the next time you create a VM. You already have the private key on your computer, so you won't need to download anything.

Mount the NFS share

Now that you've created an NFS share, to use it you have to mount it on your Linux client.

  1. Select Home and then Storage accounts.

  2. Select the storage account you created.

  3. Select File shares from the storage account pane and select the NFS file share you created.

  4. You should see Connect to this NFS share from Linux along with sample commands to use NFS on your Linux distribution and a provided mounting script.

    Important

    The provided mounting script will mount the NFS share only until the Linux machine is rebooted. To automatically mount the share every time the machine reboots, add an entry in /etc/fstab. For more information, enter the command man fstab from the Linux command line.

    Screenshot showing how to connect to an N F S file share from Linux using a provided mounting script.

  5. Select your Linux distribution (Ubuntu).

  6. Using the ssh connection you created to your VM, enter the sample commands to use NFS and mount the file share.

You have now mounted your NFS share, and it's ready to store files.

Clean up resources

When you're done, delete the resource group. Deleting the resource group deletes the storage account, the Azure file share, and any other resources that you deployed inside the resource group.

  1. Select Home and then Resource groups.
  2. Select the resource group you created for this tutorial.
  3. Select Delete resource group. A window opens and displays a warning about the resources that will be deleted with the resource group.
  4. Enter the name of the resource group, and then select Delete.

Next steps