Are you an aspiring Azure developer? If yes, you must learn about Azure storage and Azure storage accounts in detail. Let’s dive in!
The Azure storage platform is a cloud storage solution for developers and organizations to store their modern-day data. Azure offers core storage solutions that are scalable for storing data objects. Apart from that, it also acts as disk storage for the Virtual Machines within Azure. It is also a form of messaging store to help the individuals carry out reliable messaging and can also be treated as a NoSQL store.
Azure Storage is referred to as highly available and durable because of its redundancy. It intends that the data is safe within the cloud in case of any kind of hardware errors. Moreover, Azure Storage allows users to make copies of the same data within different data centers or regions to ensure protection. When you have the potential to replicate the data in such a manner, you can ensure its high availability even during an unexpected outage, such as a natural disaster or a local catastrophe.
Azure Storage has an ocean of concepts that you must be aware of before storing your data in it. Therefore, this article intends to help you give clarity upon how Azure Storage works and other detailed attributes of it.
Core Storage Services of Azure
The core storage services within Azure intend to attend to the data storage needs from different perspectives. Here are the different core storage services, along with their roles within Azure Storage. They include:
Azure Blob Storage
Binary Large Object (Blob) is the core storage within Azure that intends to store images, text files, videos, and audios within it. Moreover, it is also a service that has the potential to store a plethora of unstructured data that is highly accessible with the use of HTTPS or HTTP protocols. Some of Azure Blobs Storage best practices are:
- Storing files within the storage for shared accessibility.
- Storing data for the purpose of analysis.
- Supporting audio and video streaming.
- Editing or writing onto the log file.
- Data backup for the purpose of data archiving and data recovery
Azure Blobs has enhanced support for big data analytics with the assistance of Data Lake Storage Gen2. It offers a dedicated file system that offers strong consistency, high availability, disaster recovery, and other such properties to Blobs storage.
Azure Files Storage
Azure Files storage is a dedicated core storage service that is specified for file-sharing purposes within the cloud. The applications over the Azure platform intend to easily share respective files within the VMs and make them accessible by the SMB. There are certain specified responsibilities of Azure Files Storage that includes:
- You can make lift & shift of the applications easily to the cloud.
- It supports both hybrid & classic lifts and shifts.
- It enables diagnostic sharing and shared application settings to simplify cloud development.
- It supports containerization.
The pricing for the Azure Files storage is with respect to the LRA redundancy option. The pricing is decided based upon the data storage, data transfer, and operations.
Azure Queues Storage
The use of Azure Queues Storage allows you to store quite a large number of messages. All of those stored messages are accessible from any of the specific locations using HTTPS or HTTP. The overall size of one queue message within the storage can be 64KB. The integration of Azure Queues Storage is responsible for:
- This intends to create a backlog of the work processes and the completed jobs in an asynchronous manner.
- Moreover, it also carries specific messages from web role to worker role over Azure.
Azure Tables Storage
Azure Table Storage intends to help users store the NoSQL data, provided it is structured. The best thing about this core storage service is that it is schemaless, which means that the data doesn’t need to have any kind of fixed structure. It allows you to store datasets without the necessity of any foreign keys or joins. The responsibilities associated with Azure Tables Storage are as follows:
- Storing TBs
- Storing Datasets
- Quick Querying of the Data with Clustered Index.
- Accessing the Data with LINQ queries, WCF Data Service, and OData Protocol.
You have the accessibility to denormalize such data to ensure faster access. You can also scale up the tables, depending upon the requirements and usability.
Azure Disks Storage
Azure Disks is a managed core storage, which acts as a virtual hard disk. You can also gain accessibility to the unmanaged disk storage facility. You can intend to have one dedicated storage account for each of the Azure regions. Hence, you can ensure that the storage potential becomes endless.
Within the unmanaged disk storage, you are required to have dedicated Azure Storage Accounts that have the potential to hold the VM disks. Managed disk storage offers two types of encryption that include Storage Service Encryption and Azure Disk Encryption. It is highly durable and supports scalable VM deployment. You also get a substantial integration with availability sets and availability zones.
Different Types of Storage Accounts within Azure
Azure Storage has quite a few types of Azure Storage Accounts that support crucial features, with its own pricing model. But, it has certain differences specified for all of the account types. Therefore, it is important for you to understand those differences to get a clear insight into the type of account that suits the best for your applications.
The types of Azure Storage Accounts are as follows:
- Standard General-Purpose v2– This storage account supports the Azure Blob, Files, Table, Queue storage services. Moreover, it also includes Data Lake Storage services. You get the redundancy options as LRS/GRS/RAGRS and ZRS/RAGZRS/GZRS. It is a standard type of storage account for file shares, tables, queues, and blobs. If you wish to support the NFS file shares within Azure Files, then you need to go with the premium version of this account type.
- Premium Block Blobs- This storage account is specified only for the Blob storage services, along with the Data Lake Storage attributes. The redundancy options for this type of account are LRS and ZRS. It is a premium type of storage account that is meant for append blobs and block blobs. This type of account is usually recommended for the scenarios that come with high transaction rates or the use of smaller objects. If your application demands the use of low storage latency, then this is the ideal storage account type for you to prefer.
- Premium File Shares- It supports the Azure Files storage services with the redundancy of LRS and ZRS. It is a premium type of storage account that is specified especially for file shares only. It is advisable and recommended only for enterprise-level applications that demand high-scale performance. This account type is ideal for picking if you are looking for an Azure storage account type that offers support and compatibility for both NFS and SMB file shares.
- Premium Page Blobs- It supports the storage of page blobs only (Type of Azure Blob), with LRS as the only redundancy option. It is a premium type of storage account for serving the storage purpose of page blobs. In order to know more about page blobs, it is better to refer to this documentation dedicated to the same!
Billing Factors of the Storage Accounts Over Azure
Now that you are aware of the different types of Azure Storage Accounts, it is important that you should know the factors upon which Azure storage charges you for using them. The Azure storage bills are directly proportional to the usage ratio over the storage account. All the objects that are stored within the storage account are billed as a group. The factors that are responsible for defining the selected storage costs include:
- Region- The cost of the storage depends upon the region in which the account is based or the data are stored.
- Type of Account- The cost of the storage services vary, depending upon the type of Azure storage accounts that you are using. Premium storage accounts that can handle more of the services charge more.
- Preferable Capacity- The capacity that you prefer to choose for your storage account is responsible for adding up some charges to your final Azure bill. You will be only paying for the allotment of the storage account that you have preferred to use for storing your organizational or business data.
- Choice of Access Tier- The access tier is the data usage pattern that you have picked for your blob storage account or general-purpose v2 account. The final Azure bill will also have some charges mentioned upon the choice of access tier for the account.
- Transactions within the Storage Account- All the read or write operations that you execute within the Azure Storage account are charged minimally within your bills.
- Data Egress- If any data is migrated or transferred from an Azure region, it is referred to as Data Egress. If the data within the storage account is being accessed by some form of application, which is not within the same region of that account, you will have to pay some charges for data egress.
- Redundancy Charges- The number of copies of your stored data that you are maintaining at one time within the same or different locations is what adds the redundancy charges to your bills.
If you wish to know more about the pricing of Azure Storage, you can refer to this specific Azure Documentation that has highlighted the same. The pricing majorly depends upon the account type, storage capacity, transactions, and replications. These are the 4 major factors, while the others are optional parts of it.
There is specific data transfer pricing within Azure storage, which is $0.01 per GB between two availability zones. In case you are transferring data within a particular availability zone, then it is free. Inter-region and Intercontinental data transfer rates are pretty high depending upon the region or continents from/to where the data is transferred. Check this pricing page to know more about the same.
If you want to make an estimate of your Azure storage bills before you can take up the services, then here is the Pricing calculator of Azure Storage for your assistance!
Know About Azure Storage Redundancy
Redundancy within the Azure storage ensures that the account meets the durability and availability of the data. It ensures that even though there is some crisis or failure, the data is still available for the users to access. Azure storage has the potential to store the data copies to protect them against any of the unplanned or planned events.
Redundancy comes in handy for scenarios such as network outages, power outages, or hardware failures. Azure has quite a lot of redundancy options available for you to choose from. While choosing one for your storage account, you should consider a few of the factors that include:
- Data replication potential within the primary region
- Data replication potential to the secondary region
- Read accessibility to the copied data within the secondary region in case the primary region crashes.
The available Azure Storage Redundancy options are:
- Locally Redundant Storage (LRS)- Primary Region
- Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS)- Primary Region
- Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS)- Secondary Region
- Geo-Zone-Redundant Storage (GZRS)- Secondary Region
For more information on these Azure storage redundancies, you can refer to the official documentation by Microsoft.
These are the core details or overview of the Azure storage that you should know before you decide upon putting your data in it. It also supports high-level encryption at rest and also offers client-side encryption. It means that you do not need to worry about the protection and safeguarding of your data from unwanted access.
Refer to this documentation to get clarity upon the security recommendations for Azure Storage. Moreover, you also get options to transfer or migrate data from other platforms to Azure storage. It is upon you to choose the desired option based upon the network bandwidth and dataset. Get hands-on experience with Azure storage to know more about its efficacy.
- There’s Actually Very Little That You Can Not Do – Anahit Pogosova – Exclusive Interview With Our Cloud Thought Leader - September 13, 2021
- Microsoft Azure Cheat Sheet - August 5, 2021
- The Role AWS Certified Developer Associate Certification Play In A Career – James Bowen - August 4, 2021
- Viktoria Semaan Talks About Her 5 AWS Certifications! - August 3, 2021
- Journey to AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam Success by Damien Burks - August 2, 2021