Attach Azure NetApp Files datastores to Azure VMware Solution hosts (Preview)

Azure NetApp Files is an enterprise-class, high-performance, metered file storage service. The service supports the most demanding enterprise file-workloads in the cloud: databases, SAP, and high-performance computing applications, with no code changes. For more information on Azure NetApp Files, see Azure NetApp Files documentation.

Azure VMware Solution supports attaching Network File System (NFS) datastores as a persistent storage option. You can create NFS datastores with Azure NetApp Files volumes and attach them to clusters of your choice. You can also create virtual machines (VMs) for optimal cost and performance.

Important

Azure NetApp Files datastores for Azure VMware Solution hosts is currently in public preview. This version is provided without a service-level agreement and is not recommended for production workloads. Some features may not be supported or may have constrained capabilities. For more information, see Supplemental Terms of Use for Microsoft Azure Previews.

By using NFS datastores backed by Azure NetApp Files, you can expand your storage instead of scaling the clusters. You can also use Azure NetApp Files volumes to replicate data from on-premises or primary VMware environments for the secondary site.

Create your Azure VMware Solution and create Azure NetApp Files NFS volumes in the virtual network connected to it using an ExpressRoute. Ensure there's connectivity from the private cloud to the NFS volumes created. Use those volumes to create NFS datastores and attach the datastores to clusters of your choice in a private cloud. As a native integration, no other permissions configured via vSphere are needed.

The following diagram demonstrates a typical architecture of Azure NetApp Files backed NFS datastores attached to an Azure VMware Solution private cloud via ExpressRoute.

Diagram shows the architecture of Azure NetApp Files backed NFS datastores attached to an Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

Prerequisites

Before you begin the prerequisites, review the Performance best practices section to learn about optimal performance of NFS datastores on Azure NetApp Files volumes.

  1. Deploy Azure VMware Solution private cloud and a dedicated virtual network connected via ExpressRoute gateway. The virtual network gateway should be configured with the Ultra performance SKU and have FastPath enabled. For more information, see Configure networking for your VMware private cloud and Network planning checklist.
  2. Create an NFSv3 volume for Azure NetApp Files in the same virtual network created in the previous step.
    1. Verify connectivity from the private cloud to Azure NetApp Files volume by pinging the attached target IP.

    2. Verify the subscription is registered to the ANFAvsDataStore feature in the Microsoft.NetApp namespace. If the subscription isn't registered, register it now.

      az feature register --name "ANFAvsDataStore" --namespace "Microsoft.NetApp"

      az feature show --name "ANFAvsDataStore" --namespace "Microsoft.NetApp" --query properties.state

    3. Based on your performance requirements, select the correct service level needed for the Azure NetApp Files capacity pool. For optimal performance, it's recommended to use the Ultra tier. Select option Azure VMware Solution Datastore listed under the Protocol section.

    4. Create a volume with Standard network features if available for ExpressRoute FastPath connectivity.

    5. Under the Protocol section, select Azure VMware Solution Datastore to indicate the volume is created to use as a datastore for Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

    6. If you're using export policies to control access to Azure NetApp Files volumes, enable the Azure VMware private cloud IP range, not individual host IPs. Faulty hosts in a private cloud could get replaced so if the IP isn't enabled, connectivity to datastore will be impacted.

Supported regions

Azure VMware Solution currently supports the following regions:

America : East US, West US, Central US, South Central US, North Central US, Canada East, Canada Central .

Europe : West Europe, North Europe, UK West, UK South, France Central, Switzerland West, Germany West Central.

Asia : Southeast Asia, Japan West.

Australia : Australia East, Australia Southeast.

Brazil : Brazil South.

The list of supported regions will expand as the preview progresses.

Performance best practices

There are some important best practices to follow for optimal performance of NFS datastores on Azure NetApp Files volumes.

  • Create Azure NetApp Files volumes using Standard network features to enable optimized connectivity from Azure VMware Solution private cloud via ExpressRoute FastPath connectivity.
  • For optimized performance, choose UltraPerformance gateway and enable ExpressRoute FastPath from a private cloud to Azure NetApp Files volumes virtual network. View more detailed information on gateway SKUs at About ExpressRoute virtual network gateways.
  • Based on your performance requirements, select the correct service level needed for the Azure NetApp Files capacity pool. For best performance, it's recommended to use the Ultra tier.
  • Create multiple datastores of 4-TB size for better performance. The default limit is 8 but it can be increased up to a maximum of 256 by submitting a support ticket. To submit a support ticket, go to Create an Azure support request.
  • Work with your Microsoft representative to ensure that the Azure VMware Solution private cloud and the Azure NetApp Files volumes are deployed within same Availability Zone.

Attach an Azure NetApp Files volume to your private cloud

To attach an Azure NetApp Files volume to your private cloud using Portal, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Select Subscriptions to see a list of subscriptions.

  3. From the list, select the subscription you want to use.

  4. Under Settings, select Resource providers.

  5. Search for Microsoft.AVS and select it.

  6. Select Register.

  7. Under Settings, select Preview features.

    1. Verify you're registered for both the CloudSanExperience and AnfDatstoreExperience features.
  8. Navigate to your Azure VMware Solution. Under Manage, select Storage (preview).

  9. Select Connect Azure NetApp Files volume.

  10. In Connect Azure NetApp Files volume, select the Subscription, NetApp account, Capacity pool, and Volume to be attached as a datastore.

    Image shows the navigation to Connect Azure NetApp Files volume pop-up window.

  11. Verify the protocol is NFS. You'll need to verify the virtual network and subnet to ensure connectivity to the Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

  12. Under Associated cluster, select the Client cluster to associate the NFS volume as a datastore

  13. Under Data store, create a personalized name for your Datastore name.

    1. When the datastore is created, you should see all of your datastores in the Storage (preview).
    2. You'll also notice that the NFS datastores are added in vCenter.

Disconnect an Azure NetApp Files-based datastore from your private cloud

You can use the instructions provided to disconnect an Azure NetApp Files-based (ANF) datastore using either Azure portal or Azure CLI. There's no maintenance window required for this operation. The disconnect action only disconnects the ANF volume as a datastore, it doesn't delete the data or the ANF volume.

Disconnect an ANF datastore using the Azure Portal

  1. Select the datastore you want to disconnect from.
  2. Right-click on the datastore and select disconnect.

Disconnect an ANF datastore using Azure CLI

az vmware datastore delete --name ANFDatastore1 --resource-group MyResourceGroup --cluster Cluster-1 --private-cloud MyPrivateCloud

Next steps

Now that you've attached a datastore on Azure NetApp Files-based NFS volume to your Azure VMware Solution hosts, you can create your VMs. Use the following resources to learn more.

FAQs

  • Are there any special permissions required to create the datastore with the Azure NetApp Files volume and attach it onto the clusters in a private cloud?

    No other special permissions are needed. The datastore creation and attachment is implemented via Azure VMware Solution control plane.

  • Which NFS versions are supported?

    NFSv3 is supported for datastores on Azure NetApp Files.

  • Should Azure NetApp Files be in the same subscription as the private cloud?

    It's recommended to create the Azure NetApp Files volumes for the datastores in the same VNet that has connectivity to the private cloud.

  • How many datastores are we supporting with Azure VMware Solution?

    The default limit is 8 but it can be increased up to a maximum of 256 by submitting a support ticket. To submit a support ticket, go to Create an Azure support request.

  • What latencies and bandwidth can be expected from the datastores backed by Azure NetApp Files?

    We're currently validating and working on benchmarking. For now, follow the Performance best practices outlined in this article.

  • What are my options for backup and recovery?

    Azure NetApp Files (ANF) supports snapshots of datastores for quick checkpoints for near term recovery or quick clones. ANF backup lets you offload your ANF snapshots to Azure storage. This feature is available in public preview. Only for this technology are copies and stores-changed blocks relative to previously offloaded snapshots in an efficient format. This ability decreases Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) while lowering backup data transfer burden on the Azure VMware Solution service.

  • How do I monitor Storage Usage?

    Use Metrics for Azure NetApp Files to monitor storage and performance usage for the Datastore volume and to set alerts.

  • What metrics are available for monitoring?

    Usage and performance metrics are available for monitoring the Datastore volume. Replication metrics are also available for ANF datastore that can be replicated to another region using Cross Regional Replication. For more information about metrics, see Metrics for Azure NetApp Files.

  • What happens if a new node is added to the cluster, or an existing node is removed from the cluster?

    When you add a new node to the cluster, it will automatically gain access to the datastore. Removing an existing node from the cluster won't affect the datastore.

  • How are the datastores charged, is there an additional charge?

    Azure NetApp Files NFS volumes that are used as datastores will be billed following the capacity pool based billing model. Billing will depend on the service level. There's no extra charge for using Azure NetApp Files NFS volumes as datastores.