Getting Started with IBM Cloud

last updated April 29, 2022

Why IBM Cloud?

IBM cloud services are a collection of more than 170 products and cloud computing services deployed around the world. This includes compute and storage services that Enterprise File Fabric supports.

For more information see The Enterprise File Fabric™ — The Killer Solution for Object Storage !


This Getting Started with IBM Cloud guide provides step-by-step instructions for deploying your own Enterprise File Fabric platform on the IBM Cloud.


The File Fabric indexes and allows interacting with your storage as a single global file system. You can add IBM Object Storage and other object and file storage services. The content of your data is not copied.

Features of File Fabric include:

  • Search across storage by name, metadata, and keyword (content search)
  • Remote and at-home users can access from the desktop apps or the web
  • Data access/stored in native format - no vendor lock-in
  • Add security to object storage with SSO, ACLs, and 2FA.
  • Comprehensive audit trail


Single VM Deployment

For evaluation and small to mid-size production environments, the Enterprise File Fabric™ solution is typically deployed as a single virtual machine. The virtual machine includes all components need including application and database containers.

Multiple VM Deployment

The Enterprise File Fabric solution may also be deployed for High Availability with multiple virtual machines and a separate database.

Please contact us for more information on setting up HA deployments on the Exoscale platform.

For production deployments see also Server Sizing Guide.


You will need the following information before you can complete the setup on IBM Cloud:

  • A domain name (recommended)
  • License key (required) - A trial key can be requested from Enterprise File Fabric Sign Up.
  • Root password (from trial email)
  • Open Stack machine image in qcow2 format
  • Outbound mail relay information. (recommended)
  • Access to IBM Object Storage
  • An Active Directory service account if you are connecting to AD (optional)

Launch an Instance

To launch a virtual server you will first create a “custom image” through the IBM Cloud.

Create Custom Image

The first step is to upload the virtual machine image to IBM Cloud Storage. To enable access to cloud object storage and create a bucket see Getting started with IBM Cloud Object Storage.

Upload the qcow2 image to your bucket. For information on uploading large files to see IBM Cloud Docs - Object Storage - Upload data.

The File Fabric qcow2 image is provided in a format that supports creating an IBM Cloud Linux custom image.

Create Service Authorization

You need to create a service authorization to grant the VPC Infrastructure permission to import the object as a custom image.

Do not follow the IBM Cloud documentation on Granting access to IBM Cloud Object Storage to import images as it currently doesn't include the easier user interface option explained below.

From within the IBM Cloud console navigate via the top menu to Manage > Access (IAM).

From the left-hand menu select Access management > Authorizations.

Select “Create” to bring up the page to “Grant a service authorization”.

  • Source service: Select “VPC Infrastructure Services”
  • Scope: Select “Resources based on selected attributes”
  • Add attributes: Select “Resource type” and “Image Service for VPC”.
  • Target service: Select “Cloud Object Storage”
  • Service access select “All resources”

Select “Authorize” to create the grant record.

Import Custom Image

You will import the virtual machine image that's in your bucket as a custom image into the region where you will be deploying the File Fabric appliance.

From the IBM Cloud console, navigate via the main Menu icon to VPC Infrastructure > Compute > Custom Images.

Set the Region dropdown to your desired location to see your current images.

Select Create to bring up the “Custom image for VPC” page.

  • Location - Choose the location you'll be using for the File Fabric appliance
  • Name - Enter a name such as filefabric-2106-05
  • Source - Choose “Cloud Object Storage” and enter the location and name of your bucket.
  • Name - Select the virtual machine image from the bucket objects listed.
  • Operating system - Choose “Centos” and “centos-7-amd64”

Once the page is completed you'll be able to select “Create custom image” to continue.

For more information on this step see IBM Cloud - Importing and managing custom images

Create a Virtual Server Instance

You will create a virtual server from the custom image you just imported.

From the IBM Cloud console, navigate via the main Menu icon to VPC Infrastructure > Compute > Virtual server instances.

Set the Region dropdown to your desired location to see your current instances.

Select Create to bring up the “Virtual server for VPC” page.

Fill in the following fields:

  • Architecture - Choose “Intel”
  • Hosting type - Choose either option
  • Location - Select the desired data center and zone.
  • Name - Enter a name such as “filefabric”
  • Image > Operating system - From the dropdown select “custom image”.
  • Select custom image - Select the image you just imported and choose “Select” at the bottom of the dialog.
  • Profile - Select View all profiles and choose a profile with at least 32 GB RAM and 8 vCPUs. Select “Save” to continue. For more information on sizing see Server Sizing Guide.
  • SSH keys - Choose at least one existing SSH key or select “Create key” to register an existing SSH Key with IBM Cloud. For more information see IBM Docs - SSH Keys
  • Networking - Choose an existing virtual private cloud or create one with “Create VPC”. Make sure you“Allow SSH”.

Once you have entered the required information you'll be able to select “Create virtual server”.

Assign Floating IP

A floating IP address allows the virtual server instance to be reachable from the internet.

You can reserve and bind floating IPs under VPC Infrastructure > Network > Floating IPs.

Choose “Reserve” to create and bind an IP address to your server instance. You'll also provide a name such as “filefabric-ip”.

SSH Access

The instance can now be accessed at the floating IP address using a standalone SSH client. The username is smeconfiguser and you will use the SSH private key. For example:

ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa smeconfiguser@

Check that you can become root. The root password can be found in the trial email.

su -

This will be required to complete the configuration.

Change Passwords

For security, change the password for root.


Configure Public Endpoint

External applications access the File Fabric through a public endpoint, a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) that resolves to a static public IP address, the Floating IP address you assigned. The FQDN needs to be associated with or routed to the virtual appliance, SSL certificates applied or generated, and ports opened if needed.

The appliance is configured, by default, with DHCP and a self-generated untrusted SSL certificate.

In order to use the web, desktop, and mobile apps over SSL you will need a trusted SSL certificate associated with the fully qualified domain name.

If you do NOT wish to use SSL for the trial you can disable it.

  1. Log in as the Appliance Administrator as per the instructions below.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Site Functionality
  3. Set Always use HTTPS to No.
  4. Set Generate secure server-side links to No.
  5. Select Update options at the bottom of the page.

Create DNS entries

The File Fabric uses named-based virtual hosts to provide multiple protocols for the same ports. For single VM installations, the first domain name is typically the name of the host.

Choose three fully qualified domain names (FQDNs). For example:

  • - Domain name (service endpoint and website)
  • - used for WebDAV service
  • - used for S3 service

Add DNS type A records that point these domain names to the Elastic IP Address. For example,

Type Name Value
A files
A files-webdav
A files-s3

Verify that Public DNS records are setup correctly:

curl -Lk | head
curl -Lk | head
curl -Lk | head

These commands should resolve the domain name, connect to port 80, get redirected to port 443 and return (part of) the web login page:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
	<!-- title -->
		<title>Home | SME Appliance</title>
	<meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="content-type"/>
	<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EDGE,IE=11,chrome=1"/>
	<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no"/>

Start SME Config Server

If you are logged in as root leave root privilege:

[root@files smeconfiguser]# exit

As the smeconfiguser start the configuration server by typing smeconfigserver. You should see a confirmation that the config server is running:

[smeconfiguser@files ~]$ smeconfigserver
Please contact me with a browser on port 8080
Hit Ctrl+C when work is done

Now open your browser to:


Configure Hostname Settings

Here you only need to configure the three domain names. Click “Configuration” and then “SME Server Hostname Settings”.

After Saving go to the “Overview” page and scroll down to the bottom to “Apply”. No other changes are required for the appliance.

Follow the prompts on the page to reboot the appliance. If you are not doing this immediately stop the Config Server by typing Control-C in the terminal window.

Create SSL Certificates

This section creates and configures SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt. If you are using your own certificates (or a different service) you can use the smeconfigserver service above to add certificates.

Log back into the rebooted appliance.


Log in as the root user.

su -

Run the following command:

certbot --no-redirect --authenticator standalone --installer apache --pre-hook "systemctl stop httpd" --post-hook "systemctl start httpd" 

Note: The appliance will be inaccessible during the request which may be up to a minute.

This command will prompt for an email address. It’s important to give this information so that an admin can be notified in the future if there are issues automatically renewing the certificate.

Please also agree to the Terms of Service. It is not necessary to share the provided email with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Certbot will automatically detect what FQDNs are setup for the Enterprise File Fabric and prompt for which should be included in the certificate.

Which names would you like to activate HTTPS for?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Select the appropriate numbers separated by commas and/or spaces, or leave input 
blank to select all options shown (Enter 'c' to cancel):

After successful completion, the Enterprise File Fabric will automatically start using the new certificates. These certificates will last for 90 days, so the final step is to setup automated renewal.

Automatically Certificate Renewal

A Let’s Encrypt certificate is valid for 90 days, and can be automatically renewed within 30 days of expiration. A simple cron job will run daily and handle renewals.

Please Note: The File Fabric will be inaccessible during the renewal. Please ensure that the renewal time is during off hours. Downtime will only occur every 60 days when a renewal is required and may last up to one minute.

While still logged in as root run the following command to add a cron job.

crontab -e

In the example below the renewal attempt will process at 2:30AM. The Enterprise File Fabric ships with the timezone set to UTC. You can set the cron jobs to run at the time of your choosing, but do not change the File Fabric's timezone.

30 2 * * * /bin/certbot renew >> /var/log/letsencrypt/le-renew.log

This will create a crontab entry for a cron job that will handle the renewals and write its output to a log file.

You can use to test the certificate after updating the certificate as well as the server's SSL configuration.

Configure Appliance

Open a browser to the domain name you assigned:   

If you haven't set a domain name, use your external IP address:

You'll see the following login page:

Log into the appliance as appladmin with a password from your trial license:

 User name: appladmin
 Password: appladminpassword

Select “Password/Login” from the Main Menu to change the Appliance Administrator password.

After you select “Update password” you will be logged out and need to log back in.

License Key

Configure your license key under Settings > License Key.

A trial key can be requested from

An SMTP server is used by the appliance to send registration and notification emails to users. A daily report and error notices are also emailed to the “Notification Email”.

See SMTP Configuration.

If you do not initially configure an email server remember not to use email notifications when adding users.

Change Appliance Admin Email

With an SMTP server configured you can change the email of the Appliance Admin which will require a confirmation email.

Go to the main menu (Hamburger icon) to Password/Login to change the Account Email.

You can also set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for the Appliance Admin from this screen.

Server Notification Email

Server errors and a daily report are sent to a notification email that must be configured by the Appliance Administrator. The default is not to email reports.

The “Notification Email” setting is on the “SMTP and Filebox Configuration” page that can be found via the menu “Email and Filebox”.

Create an Organization

An organization is a tenant within the appliance and is created by the Appliance Administrator.

Review User Package

The File Fabric platform uses templates for organizations, in order for us to create our organization, we need to pick a template, before we do, let’s review.

Login as the Appliance Administrator.

Click “User Packages” and then click the pencil to modify “Organisation Cloud 20 Users” This is a good template to start from. Scroll down to the “Extra options” section and add “Content Search Enabled” and Dropfolders. Use “Crtl-Click“ to add to the selection.

Create Organization

Login as the Appliance Administrator.

In the hamburger menu, select “Users” and then “Add a User”.

On the Add a User screen create your Organization admin user. (This will also be your organization.)

  1. User Login: The Organization short name and superuser's username. We recommend the domain name of your company such as “”.
  2. E-mail: Email address of organizational admin, must be unique to the system, do not use your own.
  3. Password:
  4. Name (Company Name): Full organization name.
  5. Package: The user package template from earlier.
  6. We do not need to split the license between organizations, leave the last field empty.

Click Save.

Add Storage

Log out as the appladmin user, and log back in as the user you just created. You will first see the “Add Storage Provider” screen. You have to add storage before you can continue the setup. The first storage added is the “default storage” used for internal files such as generated image thumbnails. The default storage can be changed in the future.

Select Open S3 - S3 Compatible Cloud and follow the instructions on the next couple of screens.

Find the endpoint for your region under Cloud Object Storage > Endpoints. If you have buckets in different regions you can create multiple storage providers.

See Adding an S3 Compatible Cloud Provider for more information.

Single Sign-On (Optional)

An authentication provider can be added to allow users to log in using their corporate credentials. See Authentication Services for more information.

Next Steps

Once this is complete you can:

For more information see Nasuni Access Anywhere