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How to build a large CIFS server with high availability in Azure

    Question

  • Hi,

    I am trying to see if it would be viable to move hundreds of TB of data sitting on SMB shares on site to Azure.

    Requirements:

    • Storage capacity 400TB+
    • Accessed by multiple users from multiple offices so must be able to implement permissions on users and groups
    • Integrate with AD
    • RPO up to 24 hours
    • RTO up to 24 hours
    • Availability 99.95%

    On site it sits on traditional MS Windows VMs hosted on VMware and Hyper-V based clusters with storage from SANs.

    The availability of data is very high currently but I have been asked to reduce the IT Infrastructure footprint on site and have been trying to figure out how to serve this data from Azure and maintain a 99.95+ availability.

    I started thinking in traditional terms of building a Windows Server cluster in Azure and then attaching 100s TB worth of blob storage. But then ran into the problem that you can't get block storage(highly available) in Azure to allow you to build a Windows Server Cluster.

    A single VM with 100's TB of Blob storage has no SLA in Azure and can be taken down for various reasons including host maintenance or Windows Server security patching so this would not be an option.

    I trialed a StorSimple appliance onsite however this had its limitations such as incredibly slow to snapshot 50TB+ of data taking the better part of 24 hours and breaking the 24 hr RPO associated with the data. On top of that users are located in many different offices and then need to come into the DC where the Storsimple is located and potentially back out to Azure. It would be much more efficient for them to break out of the offices straight out to Azure.

    I considered using the Storsimple virtual appliance in Azure as block storage for the Windows Cluster however the appliance is also a single VM I believe and it would also not be covered by the Azure availability SLA.

    I considered Azure File Services but these don't support ACLs and can only be mapped to a VM in the same Azure subscription I believe. They are also limited to 5TB per share.

    Has anyone successfully found a cost effective way to build large capacity and highly available CIFS storage in Azure?

    Thanks

    Friday, June 3, 2016 8:38 AM

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