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Azure Storage Lifecycle Policy

How to create an Azure storage lifecycle management policy​

Whether you are using our Cloud Storage Management software to gain insights into your Azure storage environment, or are just trying to work out how to save costs within Azure, creating a lifecycle management policy is a great idea to help you save in your Azure storage costs.

Azure Storage Tiering Overview

Azure has three different tiers for your blob storage. These storage tiers are;

Hot – Used for frequently accessed data. Best suited for data that your user base accesses daily, think files and photos etc

Cool – Used for infrequently accessed data. Well suited for data that maybe accessed, but not that often.

Archive – Used for rarely accessed data, like backups or data that you need to keep for historical reasons.

Each of these Storage Tiers has a cost associated that Microsoft will charge you per gigabyte of data. The Hot Tier obviously being the most expensive, the Cool Tier is a little cheaper and the Archive Tier having considerable cost savings. 

As an example at the time of writing this page, the cost per gigabyte in US dollars for each Tier is as below. (this may vary depending on your agreement with Microsoft)

 PREMIUMHOTCOOLARCHIVE
First 50 terabyte (TB) / month$0.15 per GB$0.0184 per GB$0.01 per GB$0.00099 per GB
Next 450 TB/month$0.15 per GB$0.0177 per GB$0.01 per GB$0.00099 per GB
Over 500 TB/month$0.15 per GB$0.0170 per GB$0.01 per GB$0.00099 per GB

As the table above shows, there are considerable savings when you move your blobs down to the lower tiers.

Microsoft Azure provides tiering for your blob data, that you can set as the default level. (either upon creation of the storage account or at a later date). To check the default storage tiering of your storage account go to the Azure Portal, choose configuration, and then the access tier that the blobs default to in that storage account is shown. 

 

It must be noted that only the Hot and Cool tiers can be set as the default and not the Archive tier.

OK, so now that you see there are some real benefits in changing the tiering of your blob storage, how do I create one you ask?

Well first off let’s look at what you will need to make sure is in place first.

Tiering of blob object storage is only available in Blob Storage and General Purpose v2 (or GPv2) accounts. If you have GPv1 storage you will need to convert that first to GPv2.

Premium storage does not provide any tiering, as this tier is for fast access using SSD based drives. (this maybe coming at a later date)

Changing tiers of storage may incur increased costs. Be very careful when applying the change to your data, as rehydrating blobs from the archive tier can be costly.

How to create your first Azure Storage Lifecycle Management Policy.

In your Azure portal, go to your storage account that you want the lifecycle policy to apply to and then choose Lifecycle Management.

 

Once the right hand side of your browser has populated, choose Add Rule to start the wizard

Now that the new rule has shown up we need to fill in a few details. You will need to give the rule a Name and then choose what you want to happen with your object data.

As an example I have shown in the below rule that the blobs will move to cool storage after not being accessed in 90 days, then to archive storage in 180 days, then finally being deleted in 365 days.

If you are happy with what you have set, just click Review + add and Azure will go on to apply those settings to your storage accountor if you want to be granular and exclude some containers / paths then click on Next: Filter Set.

 

On this page you can now exclude any containers or paths that you do not want this policy to apply to. Click Next: Review + add. 

Azure Lifecycle Management Filter

 

If all goes well you should be presented with a screen as below, saying that your Validation Passed. 

Click on Add and Azure will now apply those settings to your storage account.

Azure will now go through all your Blobs and set them to the tiering and settings you have specified.

Azure Lifecycle Management Validation

Now you may ask, how do I know how much storage I’ve consumed or when were my blob files last accessed?

Easy. First run and install our Cloud Storage Manager software, then let it run a scan against your Azure Storage environments. Once the Scan has completed you can then run one of the many reports to understand and optimise your Azure Blob Storage.

Download a Free Trial and test it for yourself.

Free

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Database size is limited to a maximum of 5MB.

Typically for small or personal environments usually consisting of 3 or less Azure Subscriptions and consuming under 30TB of Azure Blob Storage. 

Advanced

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Database size is limited to a maximum of 1GB.

For medium sized environments typically consisting of less than 10 Azure Subscriptions and consuming under 500TB of Azure Blob Storage.

Enterprise

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Unlimited database size.

For use in large environments typically consisting of more than 10 Subscriptions and consuming more than 1PB of Azure Blob Storage.

Cloud Storage Manager is licensed based on the size of it’s database which includes information of each of your Azure Subscriptions, Azure Storage Accounts, Containers and finally each Blob. 

Each version has the same great functions including scheduled scans of your Azure Blob Storage and reporting.

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