Cloud 101 – Microsoft Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob Storage is object storage for the cloud, and it can store unstructured data of any size. Blob is an acronym for Binary Large Object. Blobs can consist of images, audio, video, and other multimedia files.

Key Concepts

Storage Account

A Storage Account gives you a unique namespace to store your data. Objects stored in Azure have unique account names in their address. Both account name and Blob Storage form the object address in Storage Account.

Container

A container contains the blobs. A Storage Account can store an unlimited number of containers. Moreover, a container can contain an unlimited number of Blobs. Container names should consist of lowercase letters only.

Blob

We use blobs to store an unlimited amount of unstructured data. Blob stands for Binary Large Object. Azure Blob Storage has three types of Blobs, Block blobs, Append blobs, and Page blobs.

Block Blobs

It contains data in the form of blocks and stores text and binary data. Block blobs can store up to 190.7 TiB of data.

Append Blobs

Append Blobs are like blocks of Block blobs. But these are very efficient for append operations. For example, you can use them to collect virtual machine logs.

Page Blobs

Page Blobs store virtual Hard drive files such as in Azure virtual machines. It has a storage capacity of 8 TiB of data.

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 provides a big data analytics solution. It offers a hierarchical filesystem. Because Blob Storage supports it so, it has all the advantages that Blob Storage has. Its benefits include low cost, high consistency, high availability, and disaster recovery capabilities.

Data Access Tiers in Azure Blob Storage

There are many types of data access tiers available in Azure Blob Storage. You can select any particular Tier depending on your needs.

Here is the list of tiers:

  • Hot Tier – You should use this Tier to store the data that you access more often. It has the lowest access costs as compared to Cool and Archive tiers.
  • Cool Tier – If you have some data that you do not access more often, then you should use this Tier. For example, if you want to access data that is 30 days old or more.
  • Archive Tier – Suppose you have some data that you rarely access, then you should use this Tier. This Tier is more suitable when the stored data is more than 180 days old or more.

Solutions for Moving Data to Blob Storage

There are many tools and libraries available to transfer data to and from Azure Blob Storage. Here is the list of what you can use.

  • AzCopy is a tool that copies data to and from Azure Blob Storage, containers, and storage accounts.
  • Azure Storage Data Movement is a library that moves data to and from Azure Blob Storage.
  • Azure Data Factory is another tool to copy data to and from Azure Block Storage.
  • Blobfuse is a file system driver that helps you access your data using a Linux file system.
  • Azure Data Box is more helpful when transferring large amounts of data becomes hard. It transfers on-premise data to Azure Blob Storage.
  • Azure Import Export service also helps transfer the data to and from the Azure Blob Storage.

Why Use Azure Blob Storage?

Here are some reasons why you should use Azure Blob Storage:

  • There are four types of storage tiers available. You can select any particular Tier depending on your needs.
  • Using Azure Block Storage, you can store large amounts of unstructured data.
  • It has high availability, durability, and flexibility. You can scale the resources as needed.
  • Azure Active Directory, role-based access control are the Authentication mechanisms it provides. Other security techniques are also available.
  • You can store a massive amount of data at a low cost.
  • A cost-effective and scalable solution makes it more suitable for data analytics workloads.
  • Even it can store Data from billions of IoT endpoints. Moreover, it meets the high throughput requirements of high-performance computing applications.
  • Built-in data security is also one of the best features of Azure Blob Storage.
  • The ideal scenario to use Azure Blob Storage is to keep a backup of your data. Moreover, it is also best to use when you want to restore, recover or archive your data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean by Azure Blobs?

Blob stands for Binary Large Object and is a storage service. It stores any format of data in binary format.

How Azure Storage encrypts our data?

It encrypts and decrypts data through 256-bit AES encryption and FIPS 140-2 compliant.

How can we move data from our system to Azure Storage?

There are many solutions available. You can transfer data either offline or over the network connection. Data transfer occurs based on data size, transfer frequency, and available bandwidth.

Related Object Storage Services

There are many related object storage services that you need to know. Every organization, small or large, needs to store data. Finding the right cloud storage provider to meet your needs is essential.

Below is a full-list of the related object storage services covered by Anto Online:

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