SoftNAS Instance Size Guidance

SoftNAS® offers the broadest range of instance sizes and region availability on both 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 is provided below to help you select an instance size for your workload.

How to Select an Instance Size

    1. Select a performance category that most closely describes your expected workload.
    2. Review the resource properties for the chosen category to confirm they match your expected level of instance resources.
    3. Use the tables below to help you select an instance from the chosen performance category.

If unsure of your final selection, start with a larger instance size initially, deploy or simulate your production workload, then monitor and observe your results for 30 to 45 days

  • If your actual workload peaks are less than 50% CPU and network usage, then you may be able to reduce the instance size such that the peaks do not exceed 70%.
  • If CPU or network usage reaches 75% or higher, then an increase in instance size may be appropriate.

Due to unique environments and use cases, we recommend continued monitoring of your SoftNAS instances using the SoftNAS StorageCenter™ and your cloud provider’s virtual machine metrics.

Performance Categories

To help you select an instance for your SoftNAS deployment, we have created 4 performance categories (Developer, General Purpose, High Performance, Extreme Performance).  The categories offer different levels of price and performance based on 3 key properties of the instance:

  • Network Speed – The speed of your network can be a primary consideration when using network attached storage.
  • RAM – SoftNAS uses 50% of available RAM for level 1 Read cache.
  • Disk Read Cache/Write Log – EBS or SSD disks can be used for level 2 Read cache and/or Write log. This property must be configured after the instance is launched.

While there are other factors to consider, the above 3 instance properties are excellent starting considerations when selecting an Azure VM or AWS instance for SoftNAS.

For more information on SoftNAS Performance Consideration, click here.


Developer level workloads are suited for DevOps, Administrators, Architects and other team members looking to learn more about SoftNAS without incurring the higher costs of full production-level instances. Developer level includes Free Tier micro instances where available.  Developer category instances are not suitable for performance targeted Proof of Concepts or production environments.  High-availability (HA) is not supported for this category of instances.


  • Network: 100Mb (12MB/sec) or less
  • RAM: 4GB or less
  • CPU (Cores or vCPUs): 1 or less
  • Disk Read Cache/Write Log: AWS EBS or up to 160GB for select instances

General Purpose

Entry level instances are good choices for workloads with basic requirements for network bandwidth, caching, deduplication, encryption and RAID.  This instance category is a good starting point for Proof of Concept trials and general workloads with a lower price over performance.


  • Network: 100Mb/sec (12MB/sec) or 1Gb/sec (120MB/sec)
  • RAM: 8GB to 28GB
  • CPU (Cores or vCPUs): 2 to 4
  • Disk Read Cache/Write Log: AWS EBS or up to 200GB SSD for select instances

High Performance

Demanding workloads that are read intensive will benefit from increased memory-based read cache included with High Performance instances. Additional CPU resources will provide better performance for workloads that require more extensive use of deduplication, encryption, compression and/or RAID.  Read-intensive workloads should leverage the use of Level 2 Read Cache using direct-attached SSD or EBS Provisioned IOPs storage (EBS PIOPs for AWS only).


  • Network: 1Gb/sec (120MB/sec)
  • RAM: 28GB to 64GB
  • CPU (Cores or vCPUs): 8 to 16
  • Disk Read Cache/Write Log: AWS EBS or up to 400GB SSD for select instances

Extreme Performance

Extremely demanding workloads requiring thousands of concurrent connections, maximum IOPs, and throughput should use Extreme Performance instances.  Level 2 Read Cache and Write Logs using direct-attached SSD or EBS Provisioned IOPs storage (EBS PIOPs for AWS only) should be leveraged for extreme workloads.


  • Network: 10Gb/sec (1.2GB/sec) or 20Gb/sec (2.5GB/sec)
  • RAM: 56GB to 256GB
  • CPU (Cores or vCPUs): 16 to 64
  • Disk Read Cache/Write Log: AWS EBS or up to 1000GB SSD for select instances

AWS Instance Sizes

Performance CategoriesSuggested Instance¹Other Considerations²
General Purposem4.xlargem4.largem3.xlargem3.large
High Performancem4.2xlargem4.4xlarger3.2xlargec3.4xlarge
Extreme Performancem4.10xlargem4.16xlargec4.8xlargec3.8xlarge
Learn more about AWS instance types and EC2 instance types.

Microsoft Azure Instance Sizes

Performance CategoriesSuggested InstanceOther Considerations
DeveloperDS1_v2D1_v2DS1 D1
General PurposeDS3_v2D3_v2DS12_v2DS2_v2
High PerformanceDS4_v2DS13_v2D4_v2D13_v2
Extreme PerformanceDS14_v2DS15_v2D14_v2D15_v2
Learn more about Azure VMs.

¹ The Suggested Instance is the default choice recommended for each Performance Category.

² Other listed instances may be appropriate choices based on the amount of RAM, CPU resources, Local vs. Network Attached disks and pricing considerations.