This Guidance demonstrates how you can replace your on-premises Microsoft Windows file storage using AWS. If you maintain on-premises file storage because of latency or bandwidth requirements, you can instead use Amazon FSx File Gateway for seamless access to fully managed, highly reliable, and virtually unlimited Microsoft Windows files, provided by Amazon FSx for Windows File Server. Amazon FSx File Gateway is a new file gateway type that provides low latency and efficient access to Amazon FSx from your on-premises facility that hosts Windows file shares. It helps eliminate on-premises file servers and consolidates all the data into AWS to take advantage of the scale and economics of cloud storage. It also provides options that you can use for all your file workloads, including those that require on-premises access to cloud data. Applications that need to stay on premises can now experience the same low latency and high performance that they have in AWS, without taxing your networks or impacting the latencies experienced by your most demanding applications.

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Architecture Diagram


Download the architecture diagram PDF 

Well-Architected Pillars

The AWS Well-Architected Framework helps you understand the pros and cons of the decisions you make when building systems in the cloud. The six pillars of the Framework allow you to learn architectural best practices for designing and operating reliable, secure, efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable systems. Using the AWS Well-Architected Tool, available at no charge in the AWS Management Console, you can review your workloads against these best practices by answering a set of questions for each pillar.

The architecture diagram above is an example of a Solution created with Well-Architected best practices in mind. To be fully Well-Architected, you should follow as many Well-Architected best practices as possible.

  • To use Amazon FSx File Gateway , you must have at least one FSx for Windows File Server file system. You must also have on-premises access to FSx for Windows File Server, either through a VPN or through a Direct Connect connection. You download and deploy the Amazon FSx File Gateway VMware virtual appliance, or a Storage Gateway Hardware Appliance, into your on-premises environment. After deploying your appliance, you activate the Amazon FSx File Gateway from the Storage Gateway console or through the Storage Gateway API. You can also create an Amazon FSx File Gateway using an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) image.

    Read the Operational Excellence whitepaper 
  • Storage Gateway uses SSL/TLS to encrypt data that is transferred between your gateway appliance and AWS storage. By default, Storage Gateway uses Amazon S3-Managed encryption keys (SSE-S3) to server-side encrypt all data it stores in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). You have an option to use the Storage Gateway API to configure your gateway to encrypt data stored in the cloud using server-side encryption with AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) keys (SSE-KMS).

    Read the Security whitepaper 
  • Storage Gateway provides high availability on VMware through a set of application-level health checks integrated with VMware vSphere High Availability (VMware vSphere HA). This approach helps protect storage workloads against hardware, hypervisor, or network failures. It also helps protect against software errors, such as connection timeouts and file share or volume unavailability. When you run your gateway on VMware vSphere HA, all gateways produce health notifications to your configured Amazon CloudWatch log group. Availability metrics are sent to CloudWatch for all gateways, and you can set alerts and monitor when the gateway is experiencing any availability-related events.

    Read the Reliability whitepaper 
  • For best performance, the cache disk size must be tuned to the size of the active working set. Using multiple local disks for the cache increases the write performance by parallelizing access to data and leads to higher IOPS. We don't recommend using ephemeral storage. For information about using ephemeral storage, follow the Amazon EC2 instance store user guide. 

    Read the Performance Efficiency whitepaper 
  • Amazon FSx File Gateway helps eliminate on-premises file servers and consolidates all the data in AWS to take advantage of the scale and economics of cloud storage. You only pay for the storage you use and can optionally retain applications on-premises to reduce latency and control costs.

    Read the Cost Optimization whitepaper 
  • Storage Gateway allows you to calibrate the capacity, throughput, and network configuration to optimize performance and use only the resources required by workloads on-premises. To optimize gateway performance, ensure that the network bandwidth between your application and the gateway can sustain your application needs.

    Read the Sustainability whitepaper 

Implementation Resources

A detailed guide is provided to experiment and use within your AWS account. Each stage of building the Guidance, including deployment, usage, and cleanup, is examined to prepare it for deployment.

The sample code is a starting point. It is industry validated, prescriptive but not definitive, and a peek under the hood to help you begin.

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This [blog post/e-book/Guidance/sample code] demonstrates how [insert short description].


The sample code; software libraries; command line tools; proofs of concept; templates; or other related technology (including any of the foregoing that are provided by our personnel) is provided to you as AWS Content under the AWS Customer Agreement, or the relevant written agreement between you and AWS (whichever applies). You should not use this AWS Content in your production accounts, or on production or other critical data. You are responsible for testing, securing, and optimizing the AWS Content, such as sample code, as appropriate for production grade use based on your specific quality control practices and standards. Deploying AWS Content may incur AWS charges for creating or using AWS chargeable resources, such as running Amazon EC2 instances or using Amazon S3 storage.

References to third-party services or organizations in this Guidance do not imply an endorsement, sponsorship, or affiliation between Amazon or AWS and the third party. Guidance from AWS is a technical starting point, and you can customize your integration with third-party services when you deploy the architecture.

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