In previous article ,we have seen basics of Azure Compute and networking services. Now in this article we will see basics of Azure Storage services. This series is based on Microsoft Learning path specifically designed for Azure fundamentals.
Part-1E : Azure storage Services
Azure Storage Account
A storage account gives you a unique namespace for your Azure Storage data that’s accessible from anywhere in the world over HTTP or HTTPS. Data in this account is secure, highly available, durable, and massively scalable.
The type of storage account determines the storage services and redundancy options and has an impact on the use.
Types of storage services provided by Azure-
Note: Locally redundant storage (LRS),Geo-redundant storage (GRS),Read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS),Zone-redundant storage (ZRS),Geo-zone-redundant storage (GZRS),Read-access geo-zone-redundant storage (RA-GZRS)
Azure storage services
The Azure Storage platform includes the following data services:
- Azure Blobs: A massively scalable object store for text and binary data. Also includes support for big data analytics through Data Lake Storage Gen2.
- Azure Files: Managed file shares for cloud or on-premises deployments.
- Azure Queues: A messaging store for reliable messaging between application components.
- Azure Disks: Block-level storage volumes for Azure VMs.
Benefits of Azure Storage
- Durable and highly available (Redundancy ensures this)
- Managed (handles hardware maintenance, updates, and critical issues)
- Accessible (accessible from anywhere in the world over HTTP or HTTPS)
Azure Blob Storage
- It can store massive amounts of data, such as text or binary data.
- Azure Blob Storage is unstructured, meaning that there are no restrictions on the kinds of data it can hold.
- Blob Storage can manage thousands of simultaneous uploads, massive amounts of video data, constantly growing log files
- A blob could contain gigabytes of binary data streamed from a scientific instrument, an encrypted message for another application, or data in a custom format for an app you’re developing.
Note: One advantage of blob storage over disk storage is that it doesn’t require developers to think about or manage disks.
Blob storage tiers
Based on different access needs, Azure provides several access tiers, which you can use to balance your storage costs with your access needs.
The available access tiers include:
- Hot access tier: data that is accessed frequently (for example, images for your website).
- Cool access tier: data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days (for example, invoices for your customers).
- Archive access tier: data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days, with flexible latency requirements (for example, long-term backups).
Only the hot and cool access tiers can be set at the account level. The archive access tier isn’t available at the account level. Hot, cool, and archive tiers can be set at the blob level, during or after upload. For cool data, a slightly lower availability service-level agreement (SLA) and higher access costs compared to hot data. Archive storage stores data offline and offers the lowest storage costs, but also the highest costs to rehydrate and access data.
- Azure Files offers fully managed file shares in the cloud.
- Azure Files are accessible via Server Message Block (SMB) or Network File System (NFS) protocols.
- Azure Files file shares can be mounted concurrently by cloud or on-premises deployments.
- SMB Azure file shares are accessible from Windows, Linux, and macOS clients.
- NFS Azure Files shares are accessible from Linux or macOS clients.
- SMB Azure file shares can be cached on Windows Servers with Azure File Sync for fast access.
Azure Files key benefits:
- Shared access (Azure file shares without worrying about application compatibility)
- Fully managed (No need to manage hardware or an OS while creating azure files)
- Scripting and tooling (PowerShell cmdlets and Azure CLI can be used to create, mount, and manage)
- Resiliency (meaning always available without power outage or network failure)
- Familiar programmability (Applications running in Azure can access data in the share via file system I/O APIs.)
- Azure Queue Storage is a service for storing large numbers of messages.
- A queue can contain as many messages as your storage account has room for (potentially millions).
- Each individual message can be up to 64 KB in size.
- Queues are commonly used to create a backlog of work to process asynchronously.
- Queue storage can be combined with compute functions like Azure Functions to take an action when a message is received.
Same as physical disks, Disk storage, or Azure managed disks, are block-level storage volumes managed by Azure for use with Azure VMs.
Azure storage redundancy
Azure Storage always stores multiple copies of your data so that it’s protected from planned and unplanned events such as transient hardware failures, network or power outages, and natural disasters. Redundancy ensures that your storage account meets its availability and durability targets even in the face of failures.
Redundancy in the primary region
Data in an Azure Storage account is always replicated three times in the primary region. Azure Storage offers two options for how your data is replicated in the primary region, locally redundant storage (LRS) and zone-redundant storage (ZRS).
Microsoft recommends using ZRS in the primary region for scenarios that require high availability. Because in case of disaster replicas of a storage account using LRS may be lost or unrecoverable.
Redundancy in the Secondary region
If the data in your storage account is copied to a secondary region, then your data is durable even in the event of a catastrophic failure that prevents the data in the primary region from being recovered. When you create a storage account, you select the primary region for the account. The paired secondary region is based on Azure Region Pairs, and can’t be changed.
Azure Storage offers two options for copying your data to a secondary region: geo-redundant storage (GRS) and geo-zone-redundant storage (GZRS). GRS is similar to running LRS in two regions, and GZRS is similar to running ZRS in the primary region and LRS in the secondary region.
Note: By default, data in the secondary region isn’t available for read or write access unless there’s a failover to the secondary region.
Azure data migration options
Azure supports both real-time migration of infrastructure, applications, and data using Azure Migrate as well as asynchronous migration of data using Azure Data Box.
- Azure Migrate : Azure Migrate is a service that helps you migrate from an on-premises environment to the cloud.
- Azure Data Box: Azure Data Box is a physical migration service that helps transfer large amounts of data in a quick, inexpensive, and reliable way. The secure data transfer is accelerated by shipping you a proprietary Data Box storage device that has a maximum usable storage capacity of 80 terabytes. The Data Box is transported to and from your datacenter via a regional carrier.
Azure file movement options
In Additional to large scale data migration (azure uses services like Azure Migrate and Azure Data Box), Azure has tools to move or interact with individual files or small file groups. Such Azure tools are AzCopy, Azure Storage Explorer, and Azure File Sync.
- AzCopy (Uses command-line utility)
- Azure Storage Explorer (a standalone app that provides a graphical interface to manage files and blobs in your Azure Storage Account)
- Azure File Sync (centralize your file shares in Azure Files and keep the flexibility, performance, and compatibility of a Windows file server bi directionally)
Questions for AZ-900:
Q1-How many copies of data are maintained by an Azure Storage account that uses locally-redundant storage (LRS)?
- A. 3 (Ans)
- B. 4
- C. 6
- D. 9
Q-2 To complete the sentence, select the appropriate option.
Data that is stored in the Archive access tier of an Azure Storage:
A. Can be accessed at any time by using azcopy.exe
B. Can only be read by using Azure Backup.
C. must be restored before the data can be accessed.
D. must be rehydrated before the data can be accessed. (Ans)
You plan to map a network drive from several computers that run Windows 10 to Azure Storage.
You need to create a storage solution in Azure for the planned mapped drive.
What should you create?
- an Azure SQL database
- a virtual machine data disk
- a File service in a storage account (Ans)
- a Blob service in a storage account
Q-4 You plan to create an Azure virtual machine. You need to identify which storage service must be used to store the unmanaged data disks of the virtual machine. What should you identify?
- Containers (Ans)
- File shares
Q-5 Your company plans to migrate all its data and resources to Azure. The company’s migration plan states that only Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions must be used in Azure. You need to deploy an Azure environment that meets the company migration plan.
Solution: You create an Azure App Service and Azure Storage accounts.
Does this meet the goal?
- No (Ans)
In the next part, We will cover Azure Identity, access and security related concept.