Leveraging AWS Marketplace Storage Solutions for Microsoft SharePoint
AWS Whitepaper

Architecture Considerations

Capacity Planning

SharePoint uses storage in several ways and selecting the appropriate configuration is a key aspect in the overall performance of the SharePoint collaboration suite. AWS Marketplace storage product provides storage for the Microsoft SQL Server 2016 databases and for SharePoint Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) which stores larger binary objects (for example, Visio diagrams, PowerPoint presentations) within a file system outside the SharePoint Microsoft SQL database. Microsoft provides detailed guidance related to SharePoint capacity planning in Storage and SQL Server capacity planning and configuration (SharePoint Server) on TechNet that takes into account the type and number of artifacts you plan to store in your SharePoint environment (see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc298801(v=office.16).aspx). This guidance helps you select and size the appropriate Amazon EC2 instances you need to provide database and content storage capacity, and necessary I/O performance to meet your needs.

Storage Performance

Your storage configuration varies based on the requirements you gather from the SharePoint capacity planning guidance. Amazon EBS volumes can be configured in a variety of ways (for example, RAID striping, different volume sizes, etc.) to yield different performance characteristics. For high I/O scenarios, you can create and attach additional Amazon EBS volumes, and stripe using RAID software to increase the total number of I/O operations per second (IOPS). Each Amazon EBS volume is protected from physical drive failure through drive mirroring, so using a RAID level higher than RAID 0 is unnecessary.

Fault Tolerance

For multi-AZ fault tolerance, SoftNAS instances need to be deployed independently because each instance must reside in a separate Availability Zone. When you configure SnapReplicate, the SoftNAS replication component, the Availability Zone of replication source and target are validated to ensure that the instances are not in the same Availability Zone.

High Availability

You need to configure each SoftNAS instance with a second network interface that you’ll use later to establish connectivity for high availability. The secondary interface is used to create a virtual IP address within the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). The virtual IP address is used as the target for iSCSI and CIFS storage clients and enables continued connectivity to the SoftNAS Cloud NAS in the event that the primary instance fails. You can add the secondary network interface when you create the instance or at a later time prior to enabling SoftNAS SnapHA.

High-Level Architecture

To implement the Microsoft SharePoint solution described in this paper includes the following components:

  • Two AWS Marketplace SoftNAS Cloud NAS instances

  • Each instance deployed in separate Availability Zones

  • Each instance deployed with two network interfaces

  • Each instance deployed with the appropriate number and configuration of Amazon EBS volumes

  • SoftNAS Snap Replicate to replicate the source instances to the target instance

  • SoftNAS SnapHA to provide high availability and failover capability between instances

  • Virtual IP address to provide SoftNAS SnapHA cluster connectivity (VIP is allocated from an address range outside the scope of the CIDR block for VPC of each instance)