Deploy your on-premises StorSimple device in the Government portal

Overview

Welcome to Microsoft Azure StorSimple device deployment. These deployment tutorials apply to the StorSimple 8000 Series running Update 3 software or later in the Azure Government portal. This series of tutorials includes a configuration checklist, a list of configuration prerequisites, and detailed configuration steps for your StorSimple device.

The information in these tutorials assumes that you have reviewed the safety precautions, and unpacked, racked, and cabled your StorSimple device. If you still need to perform those tasks, start with reviewing the safety precautions. Follow the device-specific instructions to unpack, rack mount, and cable your device.

You will need administrator privileges to complete the setup and configuration process. We recommend that you review the configuration checklist before you begin. The deployment and configuration process can take some time to complete.

Note

The StorSimple deployment information published on the Microsoft Azure website applies to StorSimple 8000 series devices only. For complete information about the 7000 series devices, go to: http://onlinehelp.storsimple.com/. For 7000 series deployment information, see the StorSimple System Quick Start Guide.

Deployment steps

Perform these required steps to configure your StorSimple device and connect it to your StorSimple Device Manager service. In addition to the required steps, there are optional steps and procedures that you may need to complete during the deployment. The step-by-step deployment instructions indicate when you should perform each of these optional steps.

Step Description
PREREQUISITES These need to be completed in preparation for the upcoming deployment.
Deployment configuration checklist Use this checklist to gather and record information prior to and during the deployment.
Deployment prerequisites These validate that the environment is ready for deployment.
STEP-BY-STEP DEPLOYMENT These steps are required to deploy your StorSimple device in production.
Step 1: Create a new service Set up cloud management and storage for your StorSimple device. Skip this step if you have an existing service for other StorSimple devices.
Step 2: Get the service registration key Use this key to register and connect your StorSimple device with the management service.
Step 3: Configure and register the device through Windows PowerShell for StorSimple Connect the device to your network and register it with Azure to complete the setup using the management service.
Step 4: Complete the minimum device setup
Optional: Update your StorSimple device.
Use the management service to complete the device setup and enable it to provide storage.
Step 5: Create a volume container Create a container to provision volumes. A volume container has storage account, bandwidth, and encryption settings for all the volumes contained in it.
Step 6: Create a volume Provision storage volume(s) on the StorSimple device for your servers.
Step 7: Mount, initialize, and format a volume
Optional: Configure MPIO.
Connect your servers to the iSCSI storage provided by the device. Optionally, configure MPIO to ensure that your servers can tolerate link, network, and interface failure.
Step 8: Take a backup Set up your backup policy to protect your data
OTHER PROCEDURES You may need to refer to these procedures as you deploy your solution.
Configure a new storage account for the service
Use PuTTY to connect to the device serial console
Scan for and apply updates
Get the IQN of a Windows Server host
Create a manual backup

Deployment configuration checklist

Before you deploy your StorSimple device, you will need to collect information to configure the software on your device. Preparing some of this information ahead of time will help streamline the process of deploying the StorSimple device in your environment. Download and use this checklist to note the configuration details as you deploy your device.

Download StorSimple deployment configuration checklist

Deployment prerequisites

The following sections explain the configuration prerequisites for your StorSimple Device Manager service and your StorSimple device.

For the StorSimple Device Manager service

Before you begin, make sure that:

  • You have your Microsoft account with access credentials.
  • You have your Microsoft Azure storage account with access credentials.
  • Your Microsoft Azure subscription is enabled for the StorSimple Device Manager service. Your subscription should be purchased through the Enterprise Agreement.
  • You have access to terminal emulation software such as PuTTY.

For the device in the datacenter

Before configuring the device, make sure that:

For the network in the datacenter

Before you begin, make sure that:

Step-by-step deployment

Use the following step-by-step instructions to deploy your StorSimple device in the datacenter.

Step 1: Create a new service

A StorSimple Device Manager service can manage multiple StorSimple devices. Perform the following steps to create a new instance of the StorSimple Device Manager service.

To create a new service

  1. Use your Microsoft account credentials to sign in to the Microsoft Azure Government Portal.
  2. In the Government Portal, click + and then in the marketplace, click See all. Search for StorSimple Physical. Select and click StorSimple Physical Device Series and then click Create. Alternatively, in the Government portal, click + and then under Storage, click StorSimple Physical Device Series.
  3. In the StorSimple Device Manager blade, do the following steps:

    1. Supply a unique Resource name for your service. This name is a friendly name that can be used to identify the service. The name can have between 2 and 50 characters that can be letters, numbers, and hyphens. The name must start and end with a letter or a number.
    2. Choose a Subscription from the drop-down list. The subscription is linked to your billing account. This field is not present if you have only one subscription.
    3. For Resource group, Use existing or Create new group. For more information, see Azure resource groups.
    4. Supply a Location for your service. Location refers to the geographical region where you want to deploy your device. Select USGov Iowa or USGov Virgina.
    5. Select Create a new storage account to automatically create a storage account with the service. Specify a name for this storage account. If you need your data in a different location, uncheck this box.
    6. Check Pin to dashboard if you want a quick link to this service on your dashboard.
    7. Click Create to create the StorSimple Device Manager. The service creation takes a few minutes. After the service is successfully created, you will see a notification and the new service blade opens up.

Important

If you did not enable the automatic creation of a storage account with your service, you will need to create at least one storage account after you have successfully created a service. This storage account will be used when you create a volume container.

Step 2: Get the service registration key

After the StorSimple Device Manager service is up and running, you will need to get the service registration key. This key is used to register and connect your StorSimple device to the service.

Perform the following steps in the Government portal.

To get the StorSimple service registration key

  1. On the StorSimple Device Manager blade, click the service that you created. This opens up a new blade to the right.

    StorSimple Device Manager blade

  2. Go to Management > Keys.

    Keys blade

  3. In the blade that opens up, click the copy icon to copy the service registration key and save it for later use.

Note

The service registration key is used to register all the devices that need to register with your StorSimple Device Manager service.

Step 3: Configure and register the device through Windows PowerShell for StorSimple

Use Windows PowerShell for StorSimple to complete the initial setup of your StorSimple device as explained in the following procedure. You will need to use terminal emulation software to complete this step. For more information, see Use PuTTY to connect to the device serial console.

To configure and register the device

  1. Access the Windows PowerShell interface on your StorSimple device serial console. See Use PuTTY to connect to the device serial console for instructions. Be sure to follow the procedure exactly or you will not be able to access the console.
  2. In the session that opens up, press Enter one time to get a command prompt.
  3. You will be prompted to choose the language that you would like to set for your device. Specify the language, and then press Enter.

    StorSimple configure and register device 1

  4. In the serial console menu that is presented, choose option 1, Log in with full access.

    StorSimple register device 2

  5. Perform the following steps to configure the minimum required network settings for your device.

    Important

    These configuration steps need to be performed on the active controller of the device. The serial console menu indicates the controller state in the banner message. If you are not connect to the active controller, disconnect and then connect to the active controller.

    1. At the command prompt, type your password. The default device password is Password1.
    2. Type the following command:

      Invoke-HcsSetupWizard

    3. A setup wizard will appear to help you configure the network settings for the device. Supply the following information:

      • IP address for DATA 0 network interface
      • Subnet mask
      • Gateway
      • IP address for Primary DNS server
      • IP address for Primary NTP server

      Note

      You may have to wait for a few minutes for the subnet mask and DNS settings to be applied.

    4. Optionally, configure your web proxy server.

      Important

      Although web proxy configuration is optional, be aware that if you use a web proxy, you can only configure it here. For more information, go to Configure web proxy for your device.

  6. Press Ctrl + C to exit the setup wizard.

  7. Run the following cmdlet to point the device to the Microsoft Azure Government portal (because it points to the public Azure classic portal by default). This will restart both controllers. We recommend that you use two PuTTY sessions to simultaneously connect to both controllers so that you can see when each controller is restarted.

    Set-CloudPlatform -AzureGovt_US

    You will see a confirmation message. Accept the default (Y).

  8. Run the following cmdlet to resume setup:

    Invoke-HcsSetupWizard

    Resume setup wizard

  9. Accept the network settings. You will see a validation message after you accept each setting.

  10. For security reasons, the device administrator password expires after the first session, and you will need to change it now. When prompted, provide a device administrator password. A valid device administrator password must be between 8 and 15 characters. The password must contain three of the following: lowercase, uppercase, numeric, and special characters.


    StorSimple register device 5

  11. The final step in the setup wizard registers your device with the StorSimple Device Manager service. For this, you will need the service registration key that you obtained in Step 2: Get the service registration key. After you supply the registration key, you may need to wait for 2-3 minutes before the device is registered.

    Note

    You can press Ctrl + C at any time to exit the setup wizard. If you have entered all the network settings (IP address for Data 0, Subnet mask, and Gateway), your entries will be retained.

    StorSimple registration progress

  12. After the device is registered, a Service Data Encryption key will appear. Copy this key and save it in a safe location. This key is required with the service registration key to register additional devices with the StorSimple Device Manager service. Refer to StorSimple security for more information about this key.

    StorSimple register device 7

    Important

    To copy the text from the serial console window, simply select the text. You should then be able to paste it in the clipboard or any text editor.

    DO NOT use Ctrl + C to copy the service data encryption key. Using Ctrl + C will cause you to exit the setup wizard. As a result, the device administrator password will not be changed and the device will revert to the default password.

  13. Exit the serial console.

  14. Return to the Azure Government Portal, and complete the following steps:

    1. Go to your StorSimple Device Manager service.
    2. Click Devices. From the list of devices, identify the device that you are ddeploying. Verify that the device has successfully connected to the service by looking up the status. The device status should be Online.

      If the device status is Offline, wait for a couple of minutes for the device to come online.

      If the device is still offline after a few minutes, then you need to make sure that your firewall network was configured as described in networking requirements for your StorSimple device.

      Verify that port 9354 is open for outbound communication as this is used by the service bus for StorSimple Device Manager Service-to-device communication.

Step 4: Complete minimum device setup

For the minimum device configuration of your StorSimple device, you are required to:

  • Provide a friendly name for your device.
  • Set the device time zone.
  • Assign fixed IP addresses to both the controllers.

Perform the following steps in the Azure Government portal to complete the minimum device setup.

To complete the minimum StorSimple device setup

Note

You cannot change the device name once the minimum device setup is completed.

  1. From the tabular listing of devices in the Devices blade, select and click your device. The device is in a Ready to set up state. The Configure device blade opens up.

    StorSimple minimum device setup network interfaces

  2. In the Configure device blade:

    1. Supply a friendly name for your device. The default device name reflects information such as the device model and serial number. You can assign a friendly name of up to 64 characters to manage your device.
    2. Set the time zone based on the geographic location in which the device is being deployed. Your device uses this time zone for all scheduled operations.
    3. Under the DATA 0 settings:

      1. Your DATA 0 network interface shows as enabled with the network settings (IP, subnet, gateway) configured via the setup wizard. DATA 0 is also automatically enabled for cloud as well as iSCSI.

      2. Provide the fixed IP addresses for Controller 0 and Controller 1. The controller fixed IP addresses need to be free IPs within the subnet accessible by the device IP address. If the DATA 0 interface was configured for IPv4, the fixed IP addresses need to be provided in the IPv4 format. If you provided a prefix for IPv6 configuration, the fixed IP addresses are populated automatically in these fields.

        StorSimple minimum device setup network interfaces

        The fixed IP addresses for the controller are used for servicing the updates to the device and for garbage collection. Therefore, the fixed IPs must be routable and able to connect to the Internet. You can check that your fixed controller IPs are routable by using the Test-HcsmConnection cmdlet. The following example shows fixed controller IPs are routed to the Internet and can access the Microsoft Update servers.

        Test-HcsmConnection showing routable IPs

  3. Click OK. The device configuration starts. When the device configuration is complete, you are notified. The device status changes to Online in the Devices blade.

    StorSimple minimum device setup network interfaces

Step 5: Create a volume container

A volume container has storage account, bandwidth, and encryption settings for all the volumes contained in it. You will need to create a volume container before you can start provisioning volumes on your StorSimple device.

Perform the following steps in the Government portal to create a volume container.

To create a volume container

  1. Go to your StorSimple Device Manager service and click Devices. From the tabular listing of the devices, select and click a device.

    Volume container blade

  2. In the device dashboard, click + Add volume container

    Volume container blade

  3. In the Add volume container blade:

    1. The device is automatically selected.
    2. Supply a Name for your volume container. The name must be 3 to 32 characters long. You cannot rename a volume container once it is created.
    3. Select Enable Cloud Storage Encryption to enable encryption of the data sent from the device to the cloud.
    4. Provide and confirm a Cloud Storage Encryption Key that is 8 to 32 characters long. This key is used by the device to access encrypted data.
    5. Select a Storage Account to associate with this volume container. You can choose an existing storage account or the default account that is generated at the time of service creation. You can also use the Add new option to specify a storage account that is not linked to this service subscription.
    6. Select Unlimited in the Specify bandwidth drop-down list if you wish to consume all the available bandwidth. You can also set this option to Custom to employ bandwidth controls, and specify a value between 1 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps. If you have your bandwidth usage information available, you may be able to allocate bandwidth based on a schedule by specifying Select a bandwidth template. For a step-by-step procedure, go to Add a bandwidth template.

      Volume container blade

    7. Click Create.

      Volume container blade

      You are notified when the volume container is successfully created.

      Volume container creation notification

    The newly created volume container is listed in the list of volume containers for your device.

    Add volume container blade

Step 6: Create a volume

After you create a volume container, you can provision a storage volume on the StorSimple device for your servers. Perform the following steps in the Government portal to create a volume.

Important

StorSimple Device Manager can create only thinly provisioned volumes. You cannot however create partially provisioned volumes.

To create a volume

  1. From the tabular listing of the devices in the Devices blade, select your device. Click + Add volume.

    Add a new volume

  2. In the Add a volume blade:

    1. The Select device field is automatically populated with your current device.

    2. From the drop-down list, select the volume container where you need to add a volume.

    3. Type a Name for your volume. You cannot rename a volume once the volume is created.

    4. On the drop-down list, select the Type for your volume. For workloads that require local guarantees, low latencies, and higher performance, select a Locally pinned volume. For all other data, select a Tiered volume. If you are using this volume for archival data, check Use this volume for less frequently accessed archival data.

      A tiered volume is thinly provisioned and can be created quickly. Selecting Use this volume for less frequently accessed archival data for tiered volume targeted for archival data changes the deduplication chunk size for your volume to 512 KB. If this field is not checked, the corresponding tiered volume uses a chunk size of 64 KB. A larger deduplication chunk size allows the device to expedite the transfer of large archival data to the cloud.

      A locally pinned volume is thickly provisioned and ensures that the primary data on the volume stays local to the device and does not spill to the cloud. If you create a locally pinned volume, the device checks for available space on the local tiers to provision the volume of the requested size. The operation of creating a locally pinned volume may involve spilling existing data from the device to the cloud and the time taken to create the volume may be long. The total time depends on the size of the provisioned volume, available network bandwidth, and the data on your device.

    5. Specify the Provisioned Capacity for your volume. Make a note of the capacity that is available based on the volume type selected. The specified volume size must not exceed the available space.

      You can provision locally pinned volumes up to 8.5 TB or tiered volumes up to 200 TB on the 8100 device. On the larger 8600 device, you can provision locally pinned volumes up to 22.5 TB or tiered volumes up to 500 TB. As local space on the device is required to host the working set of tiered volumes, creation of locally pinned volumes impacts the space available for provisioning tiered volumes. Therefore, if you create a locally pinned volume, space available for creation of tiered volumes is reduced. Similarly, if a tiered volume is created, the available space for creation of locally pinned volumes is reduced.

      If you provision a locally pinned volume of 8.5 TB (maximum allowable size) on your 8100 device, then you have exhausted all the local space available on the device. You can't create any tiered volume from that point onwards as there is no local space on the device to host the working set of the tiered volume. Existing tiered volumes also affect the space available. For example, if you have an 8100 device that already has tiered volumes of roughly 106 TB, only 4 TB of space is available for locally pinned volumes.

      1. In the Connected hosts field, click the arrow.

        Connected hosts

      2. In the Connected hosts blade, choose an existing ACR or add a new ACR by performing the following steps:

        1. Supply a Name for your ACR.
        2. Under iSCSI Initiator Name, provide the iSCSI Qualified Name (IQN) of your Windows host. If you don't have the IQN, go to Get the IQN of a Windows Server host.
      3. Click Create. A volume is created with the specified settings.

        Click Create

        Note

        Be aware that the volume you have created here is not protected. You will need to create and associate backup policies with this volume to take scheduled backups.

Step 7: Mount, initialize, and format a volume

Perform these steps on your Windows Server host.

Important

  • For the high availability of your StorSimple solution, we recommend that you configure MPIO on your host servers (optional) prior to configuring iSCSI. MPIO configuration on host servers will ensure that the servers can tolerate a link, network, or interface failure.
  • For MPIO and iSCSI installation and configuration instructions on Windows Server host, go to Configure MPIO for your StorSimple device. These will also include the steps to mount, initialize and format StorSimple volumes.
  • For MPIO and iSCSI installation and configuration instructions on a Linux host, go to Configure MPIO for your StorSimple Linux host

If you decide not to configure MPIO, perform the following steps to mount, initialize, and format your StorSimple volumes on a Windows Server host.

To mount, initialize, and format a volume

  1. Start the Microsoft iSCSI initiator.
  2. In the iSCSI Initiator Properties window, on the Discovery tab, click Discover Portal.
  3. In the Discover Target Portal dialog box, supply the IP address of your iSCSI-enabled network interface, and then click OK.
  4. In the iSCSI Initiator Properties window, on the Targets tab, locate the Discovered targets. The device status should appear as Inactive.
  5. Select the target device and then click Connect. After the device is connected, the status should change to Connected. (For more information about using the Microsoft iSCSI initiator, see Installing and Configuring Microsoft iSCSI Initiator).
  6. On your Windows host, press the Windows Logo key + X, and then click Run.
  7. In the Run dialog box, type Diskmgmt.msc. Click OK, and the Disk Management dialog box will appear. The right pane will show the volumes on your host.
  8. In the Disk Management window, the mounted volumes will appear as shown in the following illustration. Right-click the discovered volume (click the disk name), and then click Online.

    Initialize format volume

  9. Right-click the volume (click the disk name) again, and then click Initialize.
  10. To format a simple volume, perform the following steps:

    1. Select the volume, right-click it (click the right area), and click New Simple Volume.
    2. In the New Simple Volume wizard, specify the volume size and drive letter and configure the volume as an NTFS file system.
    3. Specify a 64 KB allocation unit size. This allocation unit size works well with the deduplication algorithms used in the StorSimple solution.
    4. Perform a quick format.

Video available Video available

To watch a video that demonstrates how to mount, initialize, and format a StorSimple volume, click here.

Step 8: Take a backup

Backups provide point-in-time protection of volumes and improve recoverability while minimizing restore times. You can take two types of backup on your StorSimple device: local snapshots and cloud snapshots. Each of these backup types can be Scheduled or Manual.

Perform the following steps in the Government portal to create a scheduled backup.

To take a backup

  1. Go to your StorSimple Device Manager service. From the tabular listing of devices, select and click your device and then click All settings. In the Settings blade, go to Settings > Manage > Backup policy.

    Add-backup-policy

  2. In the Backup policy blade, click + Add policy.

    Add-backup-policy

  3. In the Create backup policy blade, supply a name that contains between 3 and 150 characters for your backup policy.

  4. Select the volumes to be backed up. If you select more than one volume, these volumes are grouped together to create a crash-consistent backup.

    Add-backup-policy

  5. On Add first schedule blade:

    1. Select the type of backup. For faster restores, select Local snapshot. For data resiliency, select Cloud snapshot.
    2. Specify the backup frequency in minutes, hours, days, or weeks.
    3. Select a retention time. The retention choices depend on the backup frequency. For example, for a daily policy, the retention can be specified in weeks, whereas retention for a monthly policy is in months.
    4. Select the starting time and date for the backup policy.
    5. Click OK to create the backup policy.

      Add-backup-policy

  6. Click Create to start the backup policy creation. You are notified when the backup policy is successfully created. The list of backup policies is also updated.

    Add-backup-policy

    You now have a backup policy that creates scheduled backups of your volume data.

You can take a manual backup at any time. For procedures, go to Create a manual backup.

Configure a new storage account for the service

This is an optional step that you need to perform only if you did not enable the automatic creation of a storage account with your service. A Microsoft Azure storage account is required to create a StorSimple volume container.

If you need to create an Azure storage account in a different region, see About Azure Storage Accounts for step-by-step instructions.

Perform the following steps in the Government portal, on the StorSimple Device Manager service page.

To add a storage account credential in the same Azure subscription as the StorSimple Device Manager service

  1. Go to your StorSimple Device Manager service. In the Configuration section, click Storage account credentials.

    Storage account credentials

  2. On the Storage account credentials blade, click + Add.

    Add a storage account credential

  3. In the Add a storage account credential blade, do the following steps:

    1. As you are adding a storage account credential in the same Azure subscription as your service, ensure that Current is selected.

    2. From the storage account dropdown list, select an existing storage account.

    3. Based on the storage account selected, the location will be displayed (grayed out and cannot be changed here).

    4. Select Enable SSL Mode to create a secure channel for network communication between your device and the cloud. Disable Enable SSL only if you are operating within a private cloud.

      Add storage account credentials blade

    5. Click Add to start the job creation for the storage account credential. You will be notified after the storage account credential is successfully created.

      Success notification for storage account credentials

The newly created storage account credential will be displayed under the list of Storage account credentials.

List of storage account credentials

Use PuTTY to connect to the device serial console

To connect to Windows PowerShell for StorSimple, you need to use terminal emulation software such as PuTTY. You can use PuTTY when you access the device directly through the serial console or by opening a telnet session from a remote computer.

To connect through the serial console

  1. Connect your serial cable to the device (directly or through a USB-serial adapter).
  2. Open the Control Panel, and then open the Device Manager.
  3. Identify the COM port as shown in the following illustration.

    Connecting through serial console

  4. Start PuTTY.
  5. In the right pane, change the Connection type to Serial.
  6. In the right pane, type the appropriate COM port. Make sure that the serial configuration parameters are set as follows:

    • Speed: 115,200
    • Data bits: 8
    • Stop bits: 1
    • Parity: None
    • Flow control: None

      These settings are shown in the following illustration.

      PuTTY settings

      Note

      If the default flow control setting does not work, try setting the flow control to XON/XOFF.

  7. Click Open to start a serial session.

Scan for and apply updates

Updating your device can take several hours. For detailed steps on how to install the latest update, go to Install Update 4.

Get the IQN of a Windows Server host

Perform the following steps to get the iSCSI Qualified Name (IQN) of a Windows host that is running Windows ServerĀ® 2012.

To get the IQN of a Windows host

  1. Start the Microsoft iSCSI initiator on your Windows host. Click Start > Administrative Tools > iSCSI initiator.
  2. In the iSCSI Initiator Properties window, on the Configuration tab, select and copy the string from the Initiator Name field.

    iSCSI initiator properties

  3. Save this string.

Create a manual backup

Perform the following steps in the Government portal to create an on-demand manual backup for a single volume on your StorSimple device.

To create a manual backup

  1. Go to your StorSimple Device Manager service and then click Devices. From the tabular listing of devices, select your device. Go to Settings > Manage > Backup policies.

  2. The Backup policies blade lists all the backup policies in a tabular format, including the policy for the volume that you want to back up. Select the policy associated with the volume you want to back up and right-click to invoke the context menu. From the dropdown list, select Back up now.

    Create manual backup

  3. In the Back up now blade, do the following steps:

    1. Choose the appropriate Snapshot type from the dropdown list: Local snapshot or Cloud snapshot. Select local snapshot for fast backups or restores, and cloud snapshot for data resiliency.

      Create manual backup

    2. Click OK to start a job to create a snapshot. You will see a notification at the top of the page after the job is successfully created.

      Create manual backup

    3. To monitor the job, click the notification. This takes you to the Jobs blade where you can view the job progress.

  4. After the backup job is finished, go to the Backup catalog tab.

  5. Set the filter selections to the appropriate device, backup policy, and time range. The backup should appear in the list of backup sets that is displayed in the catalog.

Next steps