System requirements for Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2

Applies to: Azure Stack HCI, versions 23H2 and 22H2

This article discusses Azure, server and storage, networking, and other requirements for Azure Stack HCI. If you purchase Azure Stack HCI Integrated System solution hardware from the Azure Stack HCI Catalog, you can skip to the Networking requirements since the hardware already adheres to server and storage requirements.

Azure requirements

Here are the Azure requirements for your Azure Stack HCI cluster:

  • Azure subscription: If you don't already have an Azure account, create one. You can use an existing subscription of any type:

    • Free account with Azure credits for students or Visual Studio subscribers.
    • Pay-as-you-go subscription with credit card.
    • Subscription obtained through an Enterprise Agreement (EA).
    • Subscription obtained through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
  • Azure permissions: Make sure that you're assigned the required roles and permissions for registration and deployment. For information on how to assign permissions, see Assign Azure permissions for registration.

  • Azure regions: Azure Stack HCI is supported for the following regions:

    • East US
    • West Europe
    • Australia East
    • Southeast Asia
    • India Central

Server and storage requirements

Before you begin, make sure that the physical server and storage hardware used to deploy an Azure Stack HCI cluster meets the following requirements:

Component Minimum
Number of servers 1 to 16 servers are supported.
Each server must be the same model, manufacturer, have the same network adapters, and have the same number and type of storage drives.
CPU A 64-bit Intel Nehalem grade or AMD EPYC or later compatible processor with second-level address translation (SLAT).
Memory A minimum of 32 GB RAM per node.
Host network adapters At least two network adapters listed in the Windows Server Catalog. Or dedicated network adapters per intent, which does require two separate adapters for storage intent. For more information, see Windows Server Catalog.
BIOS Intel VT or AMD-V must be turned on.
Boot drive A minimum size of 200 GB size.
Data drives At least 2 disks with a minimum capacity of 500 GB (SSD or HDD).
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) TPM version 2.0 hardware must be present and turned on.
Secure boot Secure Boot must be present and turned on.

The servers should also meet these extra requirements:

  • Each server should have dedicated volumes for logs, with log storage at least as fast as data storage.

  • Have direct-attached drives that are physically attached to one server each. RAID controller cards or SAN (Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE) storage, shared SAS enclosures connected to multiple servers, or any form of multi-path IO (MPIO) where drives are accessible by multiple paths, aren't supported.

    Note

    Host-bus adapter (HBA) cards must implement simple pass-through mode for any storage devices used for Storage Spaces Direct.

For more feature-specific requirements for Hyper-V, see System requirements for Hyper-V on Windows Server.

Networking requirements

An Azure Stack HCI cluster requires a reliable high-bandwidth, low-latency network connection between each server node.

Verify that physical switches in your network are configured to allow traffic on any VLANs you use. For more information, see Physical network requirements for Azure Stack HCI.

Hardware requirements

In addition to Microsoft Azure Stack HCI updates, many OEMs also release regular updates for your Azure Stack HCI hardware, such as driver and firmware updates. To ensure that OEM package update notifications, reach your organization check with your OEM about their specific notification process.

Before deploying Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2, ensure that your hardware is up to date by:

  • Determining the current version of your Solution Builder Extension (SBE) package.
  • Finding the best method to download, install, and update your SBE package.

OEM information

This section contains OEM contact information and links to OEM Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2 reference material.

HCI Solution provider Solution platform How to configure BIOS settings How to update firmware How to update drivers How to update the cluster after it's running
Bluechip SERVERline R42203a Certified for ASHCI bluechip Service & Support bluechip Service & Support bluechip Service & Support bluechip Service & Support
DataON AZS-XXXX AZS-XXXX BIOS link AZS-XXXX driver link AZS-XXXX driver link AZS-XXXX update link
primeLine All models Contact primeLine service Contact primeLine service Contact primeLine service
Supermicro BigTwin 2U 2-Node Configure BIOS settings Firmware update process Driver update process
Thomas-krenn All models Configure BIOS settings Firmware update process Driver update process

For a comprehensive list of all OEM contact information, download the Azure Stack HCI OEM Contact spreadsheet.

BIOS setting

Check with your OEM regarding the necessary generic BIOS settings for Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2. These settings may include hardware virtualization, TPM enabled, and secure core.

Driver

Check with your OEM regarding the necessary drivers that need to be installed for Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2. Additionally, your OEM can provide you with their preferred installation steps.

Driver installation steps

You should always follow the OEM's recommended installation steps. If the OEM's guidance isn't available, see the following steps:

  1. Identify the Ethernet using this command:

    Get-NetAdapter
    

    Here's a sample output:

    PS C:\Windows\system32>	get-netadapter
    
    Name	                      InterfaceDescription	                iflndex     Status	     MacAddress	            LinkSpeed
    vSMB(compute managemen…	      Hyper-V Virtual Ethernet Adapter #2	    20      Up	         00-15-5D-20-40-00	    25 Gbps
    vSMB(compute managemen…	      Hyper-V Virtual Ethernet Adapter #3	    24      Up	         00-15-5D-20-40-01	    25 Gbps
    ethernet	                  HPE Ethernet 10/25Gb 2-port 640FLR…#2	     7      Up	         B8-83-03-58-91-88	    25 Gbps
    ethernet 2	                  HPE Ethernet 10/25Gb 2-port 640FLR-S…	     5      Up	         B8 83-03-58-91-89	    25 Gbps
    vManagement(compute_ma…	      Hyper-V Virtual Ethernet Adapter	        14      Up	         B8-83-03-58-91-88	    25 Gbps
    
  2. Identify the DriverFileName, DriverVersion, DriverDate, DriverDescription, and the DriverProvider using this command:

    Get-NetAdapter -name ethernet | select *driver*
    

    Here's a sample output:

    PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-NetAdapter -name ethernet | select *driver*
    
    DriverInformation		: Driver Date 2021-07-08 Version 2.70.24728.0 NDIS 6.85
    DriverFileName			: mlx5.sys
    DriverVersion			: 2.70.24728.0
    DriverDate			    : 2021-07-08
    DriverDateData			: 132701760000000000
    DriverDescription		: HPE Ethernet 10/25Gb 2-port 640FLR-SFP28 Adapter
    DriverMajorNdisVersion	: 6
    DriverMinorNdisVersion 	: 85
    DriverName			    : \SystemRoot\System32\drivers\mlx5.sys
    DriverProvider			: Mellanox Technologies Ltd.
    DriverVersionString		: 2.70.24728.0
    MajorDriverVersion		: 2
    MinorDriverVersion		: 0
    
  3. Search for your driver and the recommended installation steps.

  4. Download your driver.

  5. Install the driver identified in Step #2 by DriverFileName on all servers of the cluster. For more information, see PnPUtil Examples - Windows Drivers.

    Here's an example:

    pnputil /add-driver mlx5.inf /install
    
  6. Check to be sure the drivers are updated by reviewing DriverVersion and DriverDate.

    Get-NetAdapter -name ethernet | select *driver*
    

    Here's are some sample outputs:

    PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-NetAdapter -name ethernet | select *driver*
    
    DriverInformation		: Driver Date 2023-05-03 Version 23.4.26054.0 NDIS 6.85
    DriverFileName			: mlx5.sys
    DriverVersion			: 23.4.26054.0
    DriverDate			    : 2023-05-03
    DriverDateData			: 133275456000000000
    DriverDescription		: HPE Ethernet 10/25Gb 2-port 640FLR-SFP28 Adapter
    DriverMajorNdisVersion	: 6
    DriverMinorNdisVersion 	: 85
    DriverName			    : \SystemRoot\System32\drivers\mlx5.sys
    DriverProvider			: Mellanox Technologies Ltd.
    DriverVersionString		: 23.4.26054.0
    MajorDriverVersion		: 2
    MinorDriverVersion		: 0
    
    PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-NetAdapter "ethernet 2" | select *driver*
    
    DriverInformation		: Driver Date 2023-05-03 Version 23.4.26054.0 NDIS 6.85
    DriverFileName			: mlx5.sys
    DriverVersion			: 23.4.26054.0
    DriverDate			    : 2023-05-03
    DriverDateData			: 133275456000000000
    DriverDescription		: HPE Ethernet 10/25Gb 2-port 640FLR-SFP28 Adapter
    DriverMajorNdisVersion	: 6
    DriverMinorNdisVersion 	: 85
    DriverName			    : \SystemRoot\System32\drivers\mlx5.sys
    DriverProvider			: Mellanox Technologies Ltd.
    DriverVersionString		: 23.4.26054.0
    MajorDriverVersion		: 2
    MinorDriverVersion		: 0
    

Firmware

Check with your OEM regarding the necessary firmware that needs to be installed for Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2. Additionally, your OEM can provide you with their preferred installation steps.

Drivers and firmware via the Windows Admin Center extension

You should always follow the OEM's recommended installation steps. With Azure Stack HCI, version 23H2, Windows Admin Center plugins can be used to install drivers and firmware. For a comprehensive list of all OEM contact information, download the Azure Stack HCI OEM Contact spreadsheet.

Next steps

Review firewall, physical network, and host network requirements: