Making Sense of Azure Storage: Which Service Should You Choose?
February 13, 2020
February 13, 2020
Azure Storage is a cloud storage service provided by Microsoft. It provides a secure, highly available, redundant and scalable cloud storage. Azure storage offers multiple options to store information like video, images, audio, or log files. In addition, Azure lets you easily access and analyse this information when needed.
There are five Azure storage types, two storage account types, and three storage tiers. This article explores each option in detail to help you figure out which offer suits your storage requirements.
An Overview of Azure Storage
Azure Storage is a cloud storage service that provides various storage solutions for organisations. Azure’s storage solutions include a scalable object store for data objects, a messaging store, a cloud-based file-sharing solution, disk storage for virtual machines, and NoSQL store.
Azure Storage features include:
Azure Storage Accounts
Azure storage accounts enable users to access different components of the storage domain. You can select the flexibility and resilience level and Azure takes care of the rest. The maximum data storage capacity is 500 TB on a single storage account.
Azure offers a number of storage account types. Each type provides different features and has its own pricing model. You have to decide which account type is best for your needs before creating a storage account.
Here’s a quick breakdown that explains the difference between each Azure storage account type:
Azure Storage Services
There are five Azure storage types: blob storage, file storage, table storage, queue storage, and Azure managed disks.
Blob storage enables you to store any type of file, similar to storing files on your own computer. You can place your files inside containers and make them available to end users or applications over HTTP. There is no limit to the number of blobs or containers you can have. However, the total size of storage accounts is usually limited.
Azure file storage (AFS) offers highly available network file shares through the standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. You can use multiple Azure Virtual Machines (VM) to share similar files with reading and write access. The REST interface or the storage client libraries can help in reading the files.
Azure file storage enables you to access files from any location through a URL that points towards the file together with a Shared Access Signature (SA) token. These tokens are used to give access to a private asset for a specific period of time. Use cases of Azure files include configuration files, and on-premises applications. Moreover, you can use Azure file storage for storing metrics, crash dumps, and diagnostic logs.
However, AFS has some limitations that can interrupt enterprise-level operations, such as the storage limit of 1TB per file. Also, there is no native backup solution. This is why Azure partnered with third-party service providers, like NetApp Azure Files to solve some of the performance and backup limitations.
Azure queue storage
The purpose of the Queue Storage service is to exchange messages between components either on-premise or in the cloud. You can store large amounts of messages and share them between independent application components. The queue storage service communicates asynchronously via HTTP or HTTPS. Use cases of Queue Storage include backlog messages processing or message exchanging between Azure Web roles and Worker roles.
The Table storage format is similar to a NoSQL store, you can store extremely large amounts of semi-structured, non-relational data. Table storage enables you to insert and retrieve data using client libraries, or API calls.
The data is organised in tables, while each row contains a different data entity with its properties. Examples of table storage include storing diagnostic logs, customer or order information, or a simple address book. However, you should consider using advanced Azure services such as CosmosDB, if you need foreign keys, stored procedures, or complex joins.
Azure managed disk
Azure managed disk is a virtual hard disk that provides functionalities similar to a virtualised on-premises server. Azure managed disks store files and assets in the form of page blobs that act as random Azure storage objects. The service is considered to be managed because of the abstraction it provides over storage accounts, page blobs, and blob containers.
Azure Storage Tiers: Hot Access vs Cool Access vs Archive
Azure offers three blob storage tiers: Archive tier, Cool Access tier, Hot Access tier. You can use these tiers to store data at different stages of its life cycle at a cost-effective manner.
Azure offers many different storage options for developing applications, database solutions, data analytics systems or data warehouses. Azure cloud storage environments enable you to store, ingest and manage your data more easily. You can use the different storage types to migrate your workloads, to share applications, monitor and analyse data, and store applications.
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Thursday, February 13, 2020