Installing the Storage Connector in an AWS environment

The procedure to install the Storage Connector in an AWS environment differs slightly from installing the Storage Connector on a hypervisor in your datacenter.

Before performing the installation procedure, make sure that you perform the following steps:

  • Verify the AWS hardware and network prerequisites as described in Prerequisites.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) configuration on AWS. For information see the ELB documentation.

Step 1: Creating an AWS Account

Sign up for an AWS account (http://aws.amazon.com). The Free Tier may be sufficient for micro test deployments without end-to-end security requirements, such as those afforded by VPC.

Step 2: IAM (Identity and Access Management)

Perform the following:

  1. Sign into the AWS console and visit the IAM section of the AWS console.
  2. Next, create an AWS account alias for easier access to the AWS console and allow IAM users to sign in easily.
  3. Finally, activate MFA for the root account. Click Manage MFA Devices next to Root Access MFA. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Step 3: VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)

Perform the following:

  1. Switch over to the VPC Console.
  2. Create a VPC:
    1. go to the VPC Dashboard,
    2. launch the VPC Wizard,
    3. for example, create a VPC with a Single Public Subnet Only. Do not change the default values for the settings.
In case you have created the VPC without using the wizard, you'll need to manually create an Internet Gateway, attach it to the VPC created in Step 2 and also configure the routing table. 

Step 4: EC2 (Elastic Storage Connector Cloud)

Switch over to the EC2 Dashboard then perform the following:

  1. Launch a new instance into your VPC. Choose the latest version of the Amazon Linux AMI, the official CentOS-based distribution. Choose a 64-bit instance. The T2 Micro instance type is sufficient for a micro test deployment. Later you can launch additional instances for high availability.
  2. Pick EC2-VPC as the Launch into option, and select your new subnet.
  3. Do not change the default values for the settings. An 8GB root value is sufficient for a test deployment.
  4. Set a Name tag for your instance, for example, connector-01.
  5. Create a new security group. Allow SSH connections from your IPs. Allow HTTP/HTTPS connections from anywhere (use HTTP only for test purposes).
  6. Review your settings.
  7. When "Launch" is pressed, before the instance is launched, you'll be allowed to select an existing key pair or create a one. Create a new one and download the private key. You'll need it in order to access the EC2 instance.
  8. Launch your instance.

If you are setting up a production deployment, execute the steps above as many times as necessary to create the required number of instances. At least two instances are highly recommended for production deployments.

Make sure to write down or otherwise note the IDs of the instances you create.

Step 5: Elastic IPs

Assign an EIP to your instance so it can be accessed from the Internet as follows:

  1. Switch to the Amazon VPC Console.
  2. From the VPC Console, select Elastic IPs from the left pane.
  3. Click Allocate Elastic IP Address. This address will be allocated to the VPC in the next step.
  4. Select the IP Address.
  5. Associate the Address with your new instance ID (noted earlier).

Step 6: Connect to Your Instances

On a Windows system, launch an SSH client such as Putty (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/). If using Putty, you may need to convert your private key. Once converted, use Pageant to register your converted key with Putty.

On Linux or MacOS system, launch a terminal & use SSH to connect.

Initiate your connection. When prompted for a username, connect as ec2-user and provide the private key you saved from Step 4.

In order to get the steps to connect to your EC2 instance, please:

  1. Go to the EC2 Dashboard.
  2. Go to Instances.
  3. Select the instance you created.
  4. Right click on the public IP and click connect.

More information can be found in the AWS Documentation. Troubleshooting steps in case of connection timeouts to your instance are available here.

Step 7: Install the Syncplicity Storage Application

Download the storage application installer from a location provided by the Syncplicity technical support team. Once downloaded on the EC2 instance:

  • Enable EPEL repo by executing: sudo yum install -y https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm
  • Execute: sudo yum install syncp-storage-<version>.noarch.rpm
  • Accept all dependencies
  • Validate that java 1.8 is being used by typing the command: java -version
  • Execute: systemctl start syncp-storage.service
  • The command above is expected to fail, as the Storage Connector is not yet configured.

If your network configuration restricts connections to pool.ntp.org for time server synchronization, please edit /etc/ntp.conf and set a different NTP server that your Storage Connector will be able to connect to.

Step 8: S3 (Simple Storage Service)

Perform the following:

  1. Switch to the S3 Console.
  2. Create a bucket, name it e.g. syncdata, and choose a region (US Standard is a good default for US deployments).
  3. Create a new IAM user to act as a virtual “Storage Connector” user. Note down access key ID and secret access key.
  4. Finally, create a new policy for the user, and grant DeleteObject, GetObject, and PutObject permissions.

Step 9: ELB (Elastic Load Balancer)

The ELB load balances Syncplicity client traffic across all the Storage Connector application servers. To configure the ELB:

  1. Choose the port for Syncplicity clients. Ideally, use HTTPS port 443 to minimize issues caused by firewalls that your employees may find themselves behind.
  2. Configure your Elastic Load Balancer to SSL offload traffic on this port then load balance this traffic across the IP addresses of all Storage Connector application servers. The destination port on each Storage Connector application server is 9000.

Step 10: Syncplicity Storage Connector Application

To complete the installation, you need to edit syncp-storage.yml and start the service as described in Configure the Storage Connector

OS and Security Patches Update

Please remember that you are responsible for keeping the instances up-to-date with the latest OS updates and security patches. 

Make sure to create a snapshot of the instance before any updates. This will allow you to verify that the Storage Connector is compatible with the latest OS updates. It can also help you revert your instance to its previous state, in case you encounter any difficulties during or after the update.

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