What is Azure storage?

It is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution for modern data storage requirements. Azure Storage offers highly scalable object store for data objects, file system service for the cloud, a messaging storage and NoSQL store.

Advantages:

  • Durable and highly available: It ensure that data stored in storage is highly available in case of natural or catastrophic disaster. Due to numbers of datacentre available on different region all overall the world user can replicate and configure the backups considering risks.
  • Secure: Data stored on storage are very secure and encrypted. Multiple authorization methods available for access the storage based on need.
  • Scalable:Based on requirement user can scale the storage space anytime without affecting performance or downtime.
  • Managed:Microsoft provide hardware maintenance, security and critical issue or updates for the users.
  • Accessible:It can be accessible from anywhere in the world over HTTP or HTTPS. Microsoft provides readymade libraries for accessibility and integrity with project for different technologies like; .Net, PHP, Ruby, Java, Python. It supports PowerShell and CLI for scripting.

Azure Storage Types

Following are the different types of storage account available on Microsoft Azure;

  • Blob Storage
  • File Storage
  • Table Storage
  • Queue Storage
  • Disk

Following are the different authentication methods available for Azure Storage access;

  • Access Key
  • Azure AD Authentication
  • Shared Access Signature
  • Anonymous Access

Azure Storage

Azure Blob Storage

It is highly recommended for massive storage of unstructured data of binary data or text files. It can be used to store;

  • Storage of text files, documents, images or log files
  • Storage of data for backup, archive or disaster recovery
  • Storage of Video and Audio streaming files
  • Storage of files with distributed access or role based access
  • Storing data for analysis by an on-premises or Azure-hosted service

Azure File Storage

It enables the user to setup common file storage across multiple VMs where data can be access based on given permission or read or write. It uses standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Microsoft provides Rest API and storage libraries to access file storage.  Uniqueness about the File storage is one access file storage from anywhere in the world with URL and Shared Access Signature (SAS). SAS token can be generated from Azure portal with specific rights and for defined amount of time period. Time period is configurable so user can defined as per the need and security.

It can be used for many following scenarios;

  • Many on-premises projects use the file share. This is the best available option on Azure storage where file share can be easily moved to Azure with minimum amount of code changes with all provided advantages.
  • Configuration files can be stored on file storage which can be accessed by multiple VMs from users. Common configuration or values can be available with this storage.
  • Logs, backups or archived data can be stored on file share to process and analysed.

Currently Azure AD authentication not supported with file storage but definitely it will be available in future.

Azure Queue Storage

It is used to store and retrieve the messages from queue which can be up to 64 KB in size. Queues can be used to store message list which can be processed asynchronously. E.g. For email notification service all email to be sent can be stored on queue with reference ID and service email sending service pick the email as per the queue send it. This type of processing can be scaled separately, giving you more control when tuning it for your usage

Azure Table Storage

This storage type is now part of Azure Cosmos DB. There is new Cosmos DB Table API that provides throughput-optimized tables, global distribution, and automatic secondary indexes.

Azure Disk Storage

It is Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) on cloud. It same like on premise hard disk but managed by Microsoft Azure for cloud service. Azure managed disks are stored as page blobs, which are a random IO storage object in Azure.

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