Attach Azure NetApp Files datastores to Azure VMware Solution hosts

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.

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 or ErGw3Az 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

    2. 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.

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

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

Note

Azure NetApp Files datastores for Azure VMware Solution are generally available. You must register Azure NetApp Files datastores for Azure VMware Solution before using it.

Supported regions

Azure VMware Solution currently supports the following regions:

Asia : East Asia, Japan East, Japan West, Southeast Asia.

Australia : Australia East, Australia Southeast.

Brazil : Brazil South.

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

North America : Canada Central, Canada East, Central US, East US, East US 2, North Central US, South Central US, West US, West US 2.

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 either UltraPerformance gateway or ErGw3Az gateway, and enable 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. See Service levels for Azure NetApp Files to understand the throughput allowed per provisioned TiB for each service level.
  • Create one or more volumes based on the required throughput and capacity. See Performance considerations for Azure NetApp Files to understand how volume size, service level, and capacity pool QoS type will determine volume throughput. For assistance calculating workload capacity and performance requirements, contact your Azure VMware Solution or Azure NetApp Files field expert. The default maximum number of Azure NetApp Files datastores is 64, but it can be increased to a maximum of 256 by submitting a support ticket. To submit a support ticket, see 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 the same availability zone.

Important

Changing the Azure NetApp Files volumes tier after creating the datastore will result in unexpected behavior in portal and API due to metadata mismatch. Set your performance tier of the Azure NetApp Files volume when creating the datastore. If you need to change tier during run time, detach the datastore, change the performance tier of the volume and attach the datastore. We are working on improvements to make this seamless.

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.

  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, in the Client cluster field, select one or more clusters to associate the 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.
    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 64 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 supports snapshots of datastores for quick checkpoints for near term recovery or quick clones. Azure NetApp Files backup lets you offload your Azure NetApp Files snapshots to Azure storage. With snapshots, copies and stores-changed blocks relative to previously offloaded snapshots are stored 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.

  • Can a single Azure NetApp Files datastore be added to multiple clusters within the same Azure VMware Solution SDDC?

    Yes, you can select multiple datastores at the time of datastore creation. Additional clusters may be added or removed after the initial creation as well.