Today. Microsoft announced the General Availability if their StorSimple Virtual Array (SVA).

I’ve always been a big proponent of StorSimple, as it has some fantastic use cases out there for being able to get old, stale, unstructured (file, etc) data off of your on-premises expensive storage, into Azure storage for a fraction of the cost (about $.024/GB/mo for LRS). Tell me if you can buy on-premises storage for that cost!

Not only does it tier that data to the cloud as it spills over locally, but it also backs that data up into the cloud as well (for what’s not tiered). That also means if a majority of my data sits in Azure, I don’t have to back it up to the cloud, just snap the blocks in place. Makes for much more efficient and quick backups, including the fact that it only backs up changed blocks! With the average data change rate on unstructured file data in most environments being between 3-5%, this is a great solution!

In most cases, we’re taking away the cost of not only the primary data storage (SAN), but also any archival or 2nd tier, disk backups, remote copies and tape…All in one!

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The only blocker faced in the past was getting the physical device into the datacenter. The 8000 series arrays only support 1Gb/10Gb Ethernet, no FC, so was a limiting factor for some customers. Also, with such a vast virtual infrastructure, why not provide a scaled down option for enterprises!

NOTE: Hardware ABSOLUTELY still has a place for larger environments that need higher performance with dedicated capacity locally.

Below also breaks down how/when to use the File vs. iSCSI Server functions.

File Server iSCSI Server
  • User file shares
  • Department file shares
  • Small SQL databases
  • User home folders1

Recommended specs

CPU 4 cores
RAM 8 GB
Network 1 Virtual NIC
Virtual appliance OS disk 80 GB
Virtual appliance data disk 500 GB

Let’s look at how easy it is to setup!

Navigate to the legacy Azure portal, if you go to the current portal, it will redirect you.

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First create a StorSimple Manager

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Give it a few minutes and it should pop-up as active

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We’ll start by grabbing the image for our respective hypervisor platform, and YES! VMware is supported!

Now extract the file

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We’ll first drop it into our VMM library that is managing our Hyper-V cluster and run a refresh

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Now let’s right-click the template and create the VM

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Give it a name and description

NOTE: If prompted, it has to be a Generation 1 VM

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Assign at least 4 procs

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At least 8GB of memory

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Add a new virtual disk for the data volume

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Assign the proper network

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Confirm HA is configured

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Choose the appropriate Cloud or Host

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Confirm the placement information

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Choose to start it up on completion

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Once the VM is up, login with the default password, Password1, you’ll be prompted to change it.

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After the password is changed, the device may restart. When it does, you should see the PowerShell status appear

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We should see the initial setup commence

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Your device is setup and ready to configure!

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First, configure the Network settings

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Then configure your device settings.

We’re going to choose a native File Server

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Configure Proxy and Time settings as needed

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Now configure your cloud settings.

First, you’ll need to go into the Azure portal and grab your registration key from when you created the StorSimple Manager

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Copy that key and save it, as it WILL BE REQUIRED to register any further devices

Paste it in on the setup page (Don’t worry that’s not my entire key 🙂

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Your device will then restart

Log back in

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Now you should see it registered in the Azure portal as well (where you will continue to manage it)

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Now let’s complete the device setup

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Select the storage account created earlier and if you so choose, create an encryption key

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All set! Now let’s choose Add a share

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Give your share a name and description.

Choose the usage type, either Tiered (will tier data between on-prem and cloud) or Locally Pinned (will remain on-premises)

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Assign a user/group to give full permissions to

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Now we can hit \\ntxsva01\SVAShare and we now have a share on our VSA with tiering to Azure!

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Note that Backups are configured by default, but you can change the daily backup time in the Azure portal

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Also, e-mail alerting automatically goes to service administrators, but you can add others in the portal as well

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You can also scan for updates

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