Introduction to Azure Storage Account
We live in the age of digitalization where businesses are seeking new ways to lower costs while improving their efficiency. Cloud services like Microsoft Azure stand as a true testament to this concept.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric once quoted “The biggest opportunity for big companies has come by far in the digitization of internal processes“
We are about to discuss something that comes under the digitization umbrella of business - Cloud Storage. To be precise, we are going to discuss in detail about Microsoft’s Azure Storage Account. Azure Storage Account is a scalable, cost-effective, and secure cloud storage for organizations of all sizes. Along with such benefits, we will also understand in detail about what is Azure Storage Account and its types in this post.
Table of Contents
- What is Azure Storage Account?
- Advantages of Azure Storage over Traditional Storage
- Types of Storage Accounts
- Summing up
What is Azure Storage?
Azure Storage is a Pay as you go storage service offered by Microsoft Azure. Like any other cloud-based storage service, this service from the house of Azure lets you rent a cloud-based storage space without the need for any IT infrastructure.
Microsoft Azure Storage supports a wide array of languages such as .NET, Ruby, Java, etc, allowing developers to use it for their data management needs. The Azure storage account will be given a unique namespace, allowing you to access it with HTTP or HTTPS from any location in the world.
Advantages of Azure Storage over Traditional Storage
Here are the top 4 advantages of Azure Storage -
We live in a world where data is considered to be the most valuable asset of organizations. So you must value data security as a top priority in your organization. This is where Azure Storage triumphs, as all the data is encrypted as it is stored. Microsoft Azure Storage also uses automatic traffic monitoring and profiling, preventing unauthorized access to its data points.
Used to store a wide array of data
Microsoft Azure Storage can be used to store a variety of data from images, videos, logs, and configuration files. It can also store complex data from IoT devices across your organization.
This allows you to use Azure Storage for more than one defined purpose. Moreover, all the stored data can also be accessed quickly from their high-speed servers.
Data Durability and Availability
Microsoft Azure has data points located across 25 countries in the world, offering you a choice to select between data points that are easy to access. You can also choose to replicate data and store copies in different locations to ensure data backups in case of emergencies.
Azure’s servers are highly efficient and have minimum downtimes, giving you high availability and efficient data accessibility.
As mentioned before, Azure storage runs on a pay as you go model. You can upgrade or downgrade your plans depending on the workload or web traffic. Azure storage is also one of those truly auto-scalable services providers, automatically increasing or decreasing resources as per the need of your organization.
Types of Storage Accounts
On a broad level, the Azure storage account falls under two bucks -
- One which is developed with file storage, keeping communication in mind, as it can be accessed by REST API.
- The second is designed, keeping Virtual Machines (VM) in mind.
Typically there are five different types of storage viz. Queue, Table, Blob, File, and Disk. Azure Storage allows users to replicate data within the same data centers or inside a data center located in another zone. This then translates into four levels of data redundancy.
- Locally Redundant Storage: This is the default replication option where the data is replicated three times within a single data center.
- Zone Redundant Storage: This is an enhanced version of locally redundant storage. The difference is that the data is replicated across data centers in multiple zones.
- Geo-Redundant Storage: This stores two different data sets. One set is replicated in the same region while the 2nd set is replicated in a neighboring region.
- Read-Access Geo-Redundant storage: It is similar to Geo-Redundant storage. However, in this, 2 different data sets are stored and the 2nd set of copies are readable.
Microsoft Azure also provides three tiers for storage, allowing you to choose the balance between cost and need. The three types are Hot, Cool, and Archive.
Now, let’s take a look at each of the storage types in detail.
Blob Type Storage
Binary Large Objects (Blob) Storage is commonly used for unstructured forms of data like images, videos, and texts. The data stored here does not need to meet any specific criteria. It further divided into 3 types -
Block blob: This is the cheapest and easiest way to store data in Blob storage. When you store a file, it stores it together in one piece. The disadvantage of this mode is that it requires a complete re-upload in case any changes are required.
Page blobs: Page blobs stand as the base infrastructure of Microsoft Azure’s Virtual Machine offering. Page blobs are primarily used to store the images for your VM’s disks.
Append blobs: Append Blobs are used for storing logs that need to be updated frequently.
Table Type Storage
Table storage can be used for storing structured and non-relational data in the Azure storage network. This is cheaper than other types of storage and can be considered as an alternative to Microsoft Azure SQL. In simple words, Table Storage is used to store structures and NoSQL data in Microsoft Azure’s Cloud.
Azure’s Table Storage Accounts contain all your tables and each table contains data points known as entities. Entities are made up of properties, and each entity resembles the rows in a database. Each entity can be as large as 1 MB and have as much as 252 Properties in a single system
Azure Table Storage can be helpful for developers as it allows them to store terabytes of data with comparatively lower costs for storage. But accessing files from a Table Storage is expensive, making it a bad choice for data with logic or server-side joints.
Azure Storage Queue
Storage queues are used in instances where your services need to communicate with each other. This storage type acts as a mediator or buffer between your two services.
In simple words, the Azure Storage Queue provides a fault- tolerance mechanism where there is data loss due to the long process time. If one of the servers is down, the other service can insert that data in the storage queue until it comes back online.
Azure Disk Storage
In essence, Azure Disk Storage is similar to the Disk storage on your Personal Computers. It allows you to create disks for your Virtual Machine and allow access from that single VM only. Microsoft Azure Storage allows two different types of Disks and Management models for Disk Storage -
- HDD’s that are cheap yet slow
- SDD’s that are fast but expensive
Azure Files System Storage
Microsoft Azure File storage is used to support Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines ( VM’s ). File storage type allows you to store and access files from different Virtual Machines. This is one of the major purposes of the File Storage type in Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Azure Storage is a powerful service and can be used for a variety of purposes. If you are looking to opt for a cloud-based storage platform for your IT needs in the future, Microsoft Azure Storage can be a great option due to its myriads of benefits.