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What are the prerequisites for Azure Stack HCI?

Sheza Munir

Azure Stack HCI is a new hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) operating system. This Azure service provides the most recent security, performance, and updates. However, there are some system prerequisites before we can set it up. We will go over the following requirements here:

  • server requirements
  • storage requirements
  • network requirements

Server requirements

The number of servers required by a standard Azure cluster is between 2 and 16. We can also combine clusters to create an HCI platform consisting of hundreds of nodes.

  • For stretched clusters, servers are deployed at two separate sites. There is no limit to the distance between these two sites. A stretched server will need 4 (2 for each site) to 16 (8 for each site) servers.
  • All servers should use the same make and model. The most recommended are 64-bit Intel Nehalem grade, AMD EPYC grade, or newer models with second-level address translation (SLAT). Processors need to be 1.4 GHz with support for x64 instruction set.
  • Minimum RAM requirement per node is 32 GB. In addition, there should be 4 GB of RAM per terabyte of cache capacity per server.
  • Virtualization support should be enabled via BIOS or UEFI.

Storage requirements

Each server in the Azure Stack HCI is attached to either SATA, SAS, NVMe, or persistent memory drives.

  • Same types and numbers of drives should be used with each server in a cluster. It is even better if the drives are the same make and model.
  • All servers in a cluster need log storage with dedicated volumes. For stretched servers, double the volume is needed for replicated data and log data.
  • SCSI Enclosure Services is required for slot mapping and identification, with each enclosure having a unique ID.

Network requirements

The connection between server nodes should be a low latency, high bandwidth connection.

  • At least one network adapter should always be available for cluster management.
  • We should configure the physical switches to allow traffic on any VLANs used.

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