SoftNAS Instance & VM Size Guide

Use our Instance Guidance Tool to decide on the instance/VM size for a new deployment.


Choosing the Right Instance or VM Size

SoftNAS® offers the broadest range of both instance and VM sizes and region availability on Amazon Web Services™ and Microsoft® Azure™. It’s important to select the right instance size to configure a storage solution that is the right combination of performance and price for your use case. General guidance and a guide tool are provided to help you select an instance / VM size for your workload to get your project started.

To help keep your initial decision on a starting instance / VM for your SoftNAS deployment simple, SoftNAS focuses its initial recommendation guidance on 2 series of instance / VMs (AWS r5 series instance and Azure Dsv3 series VMs). You may find other instances or VMs that fit your unique SoftNAS deployment. This guide is meant to simplify, not limit, your initial selection of an instance / VM as a starting point based on knowledge and best practices from SoftNAS.

AWS: r5 instances are used as a good starting point for your SoftNAS deployment in AWS due to the mix of price vs performance these instances offer. r5 instances offer faster Network Performance (up to 10 Gbps to 25 Gbps).

Azure: Dsv3 series of VMs are used as a good starting point for your SoftNAS deployment in Azure due to the mix of price vs. performance that this series of VMs offers. Dsv3 VMs offer faster Network Performance (2 Gbps to 30 Gbps).

Faster network performance is key to obtaining the IOPs your workload requires. The r5 instances and Dsv3 VMs both also offer a good mix of vCPUs and Memory to be used for caching purposes.

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How to Use the Instance/VM Guidance Tool

The Instance Guidance Tool below is designed to help you decide on the size of the instance / VM to consider for a new SoftNAS deployment.

Simply select an option for each of the questions, and the tool will provide you a suggested starting instance / VM based on your answers.

NOTE: For AWS, you also have the option to select a “Consumption” listing if you prefer not to select a specific SoftNAS Edition Capacity with a fixed maximum capacity.

What To Consider

There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting an instance / VM size for your project. SoftNAS suggests you base your initial decision on a few key factors to allow you to get started with your project and then monitor your unique deployment over time to ensure you are always using the optimal instance / VM size for your project. The instance selection tool on this page is designed to help you select the instance / VM to start your project on based on four key factors:

1. Cloud: Select your cloud platform provider (AWS or Azure)

2. Performance Level: What performance level do you require for your project? As your required performance level increases, so will the level of resources needed (Network Speed, Amount or RAM, Number of vCPUs). Other factors may need to be considered, like the type of storage your project demands to fine tune your final selection.

As a simplification, the Instance/VM Guidance Tool categorizes the performance selections as “Very Low”, “Low”, “Medium”, “High”, “Very High”. You can use the below information as general guidance to select a performance level in the tool:




EBS optimized throughputMax uncached disk throughput
Very Low20000437.5320048
Very High4000087551200768
Very Low300053.13640096
Very High32500875400001000

3. SoftNAS Platinum Features: Does your project involve the use of SoftNAS Platinum Edition features such as Lift and Shift, SoftNAS UltraFast, custom FlexFiles flows or SoftNAS SmartTiers? These advance features require additional resources that you should consider in your selection of an instance / VM.

4. Client Connections: Another key factor in determining an instance / VM size is the maximum number of “active” client connections associated with your project. As the number of client connections increases, the amount of resources required to support the load on the system will also increase.

How Available Resources Affect Performance
  • Network Performance: Network performance is one of the most common potential limitations to the performance that customers experience within their deployments. As your workload drives higher and higher IOPs demands on the system, the network max performance associated with your selected instance / VM can become a limitation requiring you to use an instance / VM that allows your deployment to drive more IOs to the backend cloud storage at a faster rate. While SoftNAS offers many enhancements (ObjFast, caching, etc…) to maximize your performance, at some point, the limits of the network performance offered by your selected instance / VM may become the performance bottleneck for your project.
  • RAM: The amount of memory allocated to your instance / VM can also impact the maximum performance you receive for your project. SoftNAS uses approximately 50% of available RAM on the selected instance for caches to help improve the performance of your project. If your project includes use of SoftNAS Platinum features such as Lift and Shift, UltraFast, custom FlexFiles flows and SmartTiers, these features require use of additional RAM, thus reducing the amount of available RAM for caching.
  • vCPUs: The allocation of vCPUs for your selected instance / VM is also key. Just as with RAM, as additional Platinum features are utilized as part of your project, the amount of vCPU utilization will increase to service these features. Also, high level of Deduplication, Compression and SoftNAS services RAID can also increase utilization of available vCPU utilization.
Verify Your Instance or VM Selection

SoftNAS highly recommends that you monitor resource utilization continually throughout the lifecycle of your project to ensure that the instance / VM you are using is optimized (both in terms of price and performance) for your project. The metrics you collect and analyze for your project can help you save money and time by either reducing the size of your instance / VM if you are overpaying for an instance / VM that is to large.

Also, through early detection that your selected instance / VM is undersized, potentially causing undesired performance bottlenecks, you can anticipate future demands, as your project increases over time. Constant monitoring and analysis of metrics associated with your SoftNAS deployment is strongly recommended by SoftNAS to ensure optimal performance of you project.

There are several options for monitoring you SoftNAS deployment. Here are a few helpful links below to get you started:

Monitoring Resources

General Performance Threshold Guidance

The below general performance threshold guidance is provided to help you decide if the instance / VM you are running for your SoftNAS deployment may be oversized or undersized. Other factors can apply; thus, the below below parameters are meant to be only a general guide.

Oversized: If the metrics from your monitoring show that your actual workload peaks are less than 50% CPU and network usage, then you may be able to reduce the instance / VM size such that the peaks do not exceed 70%. SoftNAS recommends that you only decrease your instance size in small steps and monitor again to prevent a change that will cause your instance to be undersized.

Undersized: If the metrics from your monitoring show that your actual workload peaks are regularly above 75% CPU and network usage, they you may be using an undersized instance / VM size that may not be performing at optimal levels. You may want to consider moving to an instance / VM with more resources available to reach optimal performance.

Instance/VM Sizing Tool

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