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An In-Depth Overview of Azure Storage Accounts & Services

thousands of computer disks

Azure storage accounts offer powerful, cost-effective options for managing your data and applications. With various services such as blobs, queues, files, and tables, you can use Azure Storage to store and access virtually limitless amounts of data effectively. This guide will walk you through all the basics of setting up and using an Azure Storage Account.

What is Azure Storage and How Does It Work?

Azure storage consists of durable, conveniently located and cost-effective cloud storage services. It offers a range of storage options to accommodate different budget and performance needs. Data stored in Azure Storage can be accessed via various protocols, such as HTTP/HTTPS for web applications and SMB for applications running on Windows Virtual Machines. Additionally, Azure Storage is secure, compliant with global standards, redundant and scalable.

Azure Storage is a cloud-based service provided by Microsoft Azure for storing and managing unstructured data, such as binary files, text files, and media files. Azure Storage includes several different storage options, including Azure Blob storage, Azure File storage, Azure Queue storage, and Azure Table storage.

Azure Blob storage is designed for unstructured data and is optimized for storing large amounts of unstructured data, such as text or binary data. Blobs can be in several formats like block blobs, page blobs and append blobs.

Azure File storage is a service that allows you to create file shares in the cloud, accessible from any SMB 3.0 compliant client.

Azure Queue storage is a service for storing and retrieving messages in a queue, used to exchange messages between components of a distributed application.

Azure Table storage is a service for storing and querying structured NoSQL data in the form of a key-value store.

All of these services allows you to store and retrieve data in the cloud using standard REST and SDK APIs, and they can be accessed from anywhere in the world via HTTP or HTTPS.

Azure Storage also provides built-in redundancy and automatically replicates data to ensure that it is always available, even in the event of an outage. It also provides automatic load balancing and offers built-in data protection, data archiving, and data retention options. With the use of Shared Access Signatures (SAS) you can control who and when can access the stored data.

In summary, Azure Storage is a set of services that enables the ability to store and manage unstructured data in the cloud, providing various storage options, accessibility, and built-in redundancy, security, and management features.

Managing Your Storage Accounts in Azure

female cartoon using lots of computer disks

Azure storage consists of durable, conveniently located and cost-effective cloud storage services. It offers a range of storage options to accommodate different budget and performance needs. Data stored in Azure Storage can be accessed via various protocols, such as HTTP/HTTPS for web applications and SMB for applications running on Windows Virtual Machines. Additionally, Azure Storage is secure, compliant with global standards, redundant and scalable.

Managing your storage accounts in Azure involves several different tasks, such as creating and configuring storage accounts, setting up access control, monitoring and troubleshooting storage accounts, and managing data stored in the accounts.

To create a new storage account, you can use the Azure portal, Azure CLI, or Azure PowerShell. Once the storage account is created, you can configure it by setting up access control, creating containers or file shares, and configuring data replication, encryption, and backup options.

Access control in Azure Storage is managed using shared access signatures (SAS) and Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentication. SAS allow you to control access to specific resources within a storage account, and can be used to grant time-limited access to specific users or applications. AAD authentication allows you to secure your storage accounts by requiring users to sign in with their Azure AD credentials.

Monitoring and troubleshooting storage accounts can be done using Azure Monitor, Azure Log Analytics and Azure Storage Analytics. Azure Monitor provides real-time telemetry and alerts, while Azure Log Analytics enables you to analyze and troubleshoot issues by querying logs and metrics. Azure Storage Analytics provide usage metrics, diagnostic logs and operation logs for your storage account.

Finally, managing data stored in your storage accounts can be done using Azure Storage Explorer, Azure CLI, and Azure PowerShell. Azure Storage Explorer provides a graphical user interface for managing data stored in your storage accounts, while Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell provide command-line interfaces for managing data.

In summary, managing storage accounts in Azure involves creating and configuring storage accounts, setting up access control, monitoring and troubleshooting storage accounts, and managing data stored in the accounts, with the help of a variety of Azure tools like Azure Monitor, Azure Log Analytics, Azure Storage Analytics, Azure Storage Explorer, Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell.

 

Overview of the Different Types of Storage Services

Azure Storage is an efficient and cost effective way to store data in the cloud. You can choose from a variety of storage services, each designed for a different purpose. These include blob storage for objects such as images, videos, and audio; file storage for shared access files and folders; table storage NoSQL key-value pairs; queue storage queues used to facilitate message communication between applications; and disk storage virtual disks used to create VMs.

Azure Storage provides several different types of storage services, each optimized for different types of data and use cases. These services include:

  • Azure Blob Storage: This is object storage for unstructured data, such as text or binary files, images, and videos. Blob storage allows you to store and access large amounts of unstructured data, and is designed for scalability and high availability. It support 3 types of blobs: Block Blobs, Page Blobs and Append Blobs

  • Azure File Storage: This service allows you to create file shares in the cloud that can be accessed using the SMB protocol, making it easy to work with file-based data using standard file system APIs. This service can be useful for scenarios where you need to share files among multiple VMs.

  • Azure Queue Storage: This service provides a message queue that can be used to exchange messages between components of a distributed application. This can be useful for scenarios where you need to reliably send messages between different parts of your application.

  • Azure Table Storage: This service provides a NoSQL data store that can be used to store and retrieve structured data in the form of key-value pairs. This can be useful for scenarios where you need to store and retrieve large amounts of structured data that doesn’t need to be queried with full-text search or join operations.

  • Azure Disks and Disk Snapshots: These services allow you to create and manage virtual hard disks (VHDs) in Azure, which can be used to store persistent data for Azure VMs. You can also take snapshots of a disk, which allows you to take a point-in-time copy of the disk and use it to restore the disk or create new disks.

All these services are built on top of Azure Storage infrastructure and share common features like automatic replication, durability, high availability and can be managed via Azure portal, Azure Storage Explorer, Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell.

 

 

Using Blobs to Store Binary Data

Block blobs are used to store binary data, such as images, videos, documents and application installers. They allow you to upload large amounts of data and can support up to 195GB in size. Blob storage is a great way to store static objects like images or videos that your applications may need to access. Each file or block is stored as an atomic unit, meaning once uploaded the data cannot be further changed or modified.

Azure Blob storage is a service that can be used to store binary data, such as text or binary files, images, and videos. Blob storage supports three types of blobs: block blobs, page blobs, and append blobs.

Block blobs are the most common type of blob and are optimized for streaming. They can be used to store files such as images, videos, and documents. Each block blob can be up to 200 GB in size.

Page blobs are similar to block blobs, but they are optimized for random read and write operations. They can be used to store files such as virtual hard disks (VHDs) and SQL database files. Each page blob can be up to 8 TB in size.

Append blobs are similar to block blobs, but they are optimized for append operations. They are used to store log files and other data that is appended to over time. Each append blob can be up to 195 GB in size.

In order to store binary data in Azure Blob Storage, you can use the Azure Storage SDKs, Azure Storage REST API, or Azure Storage Explorer. You can upload data to a blob using the Put Blob operation, and you can download data from a blob using the Get Blob operation.

Once the data is in the blob, you can set permissions on the blob, set metadata, and even generate shared access signatures (SAS) to allow others to access the data with a specific set of permissions.

Additionally, you can use features like lifecycle management, geo-redundancy, encryption, and backups to ensure the data is protected and can be easily accessed and managed.

In summary, Azure Blob storage is a cost-effective, scalable, and highly available service for storing unstructured data, it provides three different types of blob storage tailored for specific use cases and scenarios, and it can be easily integrated with other Azure services for data management, security, backup and disaster recovery.

 

 

Understanding Tables, Queues & Files for Storage Operations

Tables are used to store structured non-relational data in a NoSQL format, meaning you can store large amounts of data without any predefined structure. This type of storage is an excellent option for applications that feed off large volumes of data and require rapid access, such as gaming and analytics applications. Queues are the perfect choice if you need to queue up messages or tasks and have them read by multiple receivers. Finally, files can be used to store disk level files or images that your application might need to read or write. All files stored in the file service are accessible via either REST API or SMB protocol.

Azure Storage includes several different services for storing and managing data, including Azure Table storage, Azure Queue storage, and Azure File storage. Each of these services is optimized for different types of data and use cases.

Azure Table storage is a NoSQL data store that can be used to store structured data in the form of key-value pairs. It is designed for storing large amounts of structured data that doesn’t need to be queried with full-text search or join operations. It is well suited for storing semi-structured data that doesn’t fit a traditional relational schema, or for storing metadata or log data.

Azure Queue storage is a service that provides a message queue that can be used to exchange messages between components of a distributed application. Queue storage can be used for reliable messaging between different parts of your application, for example, between a web frontend and backend worker roles, it allows you to decouple the components of your application.

Azure File storage is a service that allows you to create file shares in the cloud that can be accessed using the SMB protocol, making it easy to work with file-based data using standard file system APIs. Azure File Storage is a great fit for scenarios where you need to share files among multiple VMs, for example, when you have a distributed application.

In summary, Azure Table storage is designed for storing structured data, Azure Queue storage is designed for messaging, and Azure File storage is designed for file-based storage. Each service is optimized for different use cases and can be used together to create a complete data storage and management solution in Azure.

 

Now hopefully you understand a little bit more about Azure Storage and its various services. If you are using Azure Storage and need to gather insights in to your Storage Consumption, have a look and download a free trial of Cloud Storage Manager.

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