What is Azure Storage and its importance

karunakar

Azure storage is one of the cloud computing PAAS(Platform as a service) service provided by the Microsoft azure team.

The storage option is one of the best computing service provided by Azure as it supports both legacy application development using Azure SQL and modern application development using Azure No-SQL table storage.

Storage in azure can be broadly classified into two categories based on the type of data that we are going to save.

1.Relational data Storage
2.NonRelational data storage

Relational Data Storage:
Relational data can be saved in the cloud using Azure SQL storage.

Azure SQL Storage:
              This kind of storage option is used when we want to store relational data in the cloud. This is one of the PAAS offerings from Azure built based on the SQL server relational database technology.
Quick scalability and Pay as you Use options of SQL azure encourages an organization to store their relational data into the cloud.
This type of storage option enables the developers/organizations to migrate on-premise SQL data to Azure SQL and vice versa for greater availability, reliability, durability, NoSqlscalability and data protection.

Non-Relational Data Storage:
This kind of cloud storage option enables the users to store their documents, media filesNoSQLdata over the cloud that can be accessed using REST APIs.

In order to work with this kind of data, we should have Storage account in the azure.
Storage account structure can be shown below.

Storage account wraps all the storage options provided by the azure like Blob storage, Queue storage, file storage, NoSQL storage.
Access keys are used to authenticate storage account.

Azure provides four types of storage options based on the data type.
1.Blob storage
2. Queue storage
3. Table Storage
4. File storage

Blob Storage is used to store unstructured data such as text or binary data that can be accessed using HTTP or HTTPS from anywhere in the world.
Common usage of blob storage are as follows:
-For streaming audio and video
-For serving documents and images directly to the browser
-For storing data for big data analysis
-For storing data for backup, restore and disaster recovery.

Queue storage is used to transfer a large amount of data between cloud apps asynchronously. This kind of storage is mainly used to transfer the data between apps for asynchronous communication between cloud components.

File storage is used when we want to store and share files using smb protocol. With Azure File storage, applications running in Azure virtual machines or cloud services can mount a file share in the cloud, just as a desktop application mounts a typical SMB share.

Azure Table storage is not Azure SQL relational data storage, Table storage is the Microsoft’s No-SQL database which stores data in a key-value pair. This kind of storage is used to store a large amount of data for future analysis using Hadoop support.

Following advantages makes azure storage popular in the market.
Scalability:
We can start with small size blob and we can increase the size as per the demand to an infinite number without affecting production environment.

Secure and Reliable:
Security for azure storage data can be provided in two ways, By using Storage Account access keys and by server level and client level encryption.

Durability & High availability:
Replication concept has been used for azure storage in order to give high availability(99.99 % uptime) and durability. This replication concept maintains different copies of your data to different location or region based on the replication option [Locally redundant storage, Zone-redundant storage, Geo-redundant storage, Read-access geo-redundant storage] at the time of creating a storage account.

How is cloud storage different from on-premise data center?

Simplicity, Scalability, Maintenance and Accessibility of data are the features which we expect from any public cloud storage and these are main assets of azure cloud storage and which is very difficult to get in on-premise datacenters.

Simplicity: We can easily create and set up storage objects in azure.

Scalability: Storage capacity is highly scalable and elastic.

Accessibility: Data in azure storage is easily searchable and accessible through the latest web technologies like HTTP and REST APIs. Multiprotocol (HTTP, TCP, etc) data access for modern applications makes azure to stand in the crowd.

Maintenance and Backup of data: Not required to bother about maintenance of datacenter and backup of data everything will be taken care of the azure team. Azure’s replication concept is used to maintain the different copies of data at different geo location. Using this we can protect our data even if a natural disaster occurs.
High availability and disaster recovery are one of the good feature provided by azure storage which we cannot see in on-premise datacenters.

Do you wonder how azure maintains all these data objects in a background ?

Whenever we create a storage account in azure in background one virtual machine will be created for us. Each object in azure storage will be accessed with a unique URL as shown below.

Every object that you store in Azure Storage has a unique URL address. The storage account name forms the subdomain of that address. The combination of subdomain and domain name, which is specific to each service, forms an endpoint for your storage account.

For example, if your storage account is named my storage account, then the default endpoints for your storage account are:

Blob service: http://mystorageaccount.blob.core.windows.net
Table service: http://mystorageaccount.table.core.windows.net
Queue service: http://mystorageaccount.queue.core.windows.net
File service: http://mystorageaccount.file.core.windows.net

The URL for accessing an object in a storage account is built by appending the object’s location in the storage account to the endpoint. For example, a blob address might have this format: http://mystorageaccount.blob.core.windows.net/mycontainer/myblob.

 

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karunakar