Azure storage

Azure Blob storage

Azure Blob storage lets you stream large video or audio files directly to the user’s browser from anywhere in the world. Blob storage is also used to store data for backup and restore, disaster recovery, and archiving. It has the ability to store up to 8 TB of data for virtual machines. The following illustration shows an example usage of Azure blob storage.

An illustration showing Azure blob storage used to store and stream video or audio files.

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

The Data Lake feature allows you to perform analytics on your data usage and prepare reports. Data Lake is a large repository that stores both structured and unstructured data.

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 combines the scalability and cost benefits of object storage with the reliability and performance of the Big Data file system capabilities. The following illustration shows how Azure Data Lake stores all your business data and makes it available for analysis.

An illustration showing the role of Azure Data Lake in preparing and storing your data for use by analysis tools. Azure Data Lake can handle a variety of input types such as relational, video, or sensor data.

Azure Files

Azure Files

Azure Files offers fully managed file shares in the cloud. Applications running in Azure can easily share files between VMs. You can use Azure file shares at the same time for cloud or on-premises deployments of Windows, Linux, and macOS. The following illustration shows Azure Files being used to share data between two geographical locations. Azure Files uses the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol which ensures the data is encrypted at rest and in transit.

An illustration showing the file sharing capabilities of Azure Files.

Azure Queue

Azure Queue

Azure Queue storage is a service for storing large numbers of messages that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. To put it in perspective, a single queue message is up to 64 KB in size, and a queue can contain millions of messages.

Typically, there are one or more sender components and one or more receiver components. Sender components add message to the queue, while receiver components retrieve messages from the front of the queue for processing. The following illustration shows multiple sender applications adding messages to the Azure Queue and one receiver application retrieving the messages.

An illustration showing a high-level architecture of Azure Queue storage

You can use queue storage to:

  • Create a backlog of work and to pass messages between different Azure web servers.
  • Distribute load among different web servers/infrastructure and to manage bursts of traffic.
  • Build resilience against component failure when multiple users access your data at the same time.

Azure Standard Storage

Azure Standard Storage

Virtual machines in Azure use disks to store operating systems, applications, and data. Azure Standard Storage delivers reliable, low-cost disk support for VMs running workloads that are not mission critical. With Standard Storage, the data is stored on hard disk drives (HDDs).

When working with VMs, you can use standard SSD and HDD disks for less critical workloads, and premium SSD disks for mission-critical production applications. Azure Disks have consistently delivered enterprise-grade durability, with an industry-leading ZERO% annualized failure rate. The following illustration shows an Azure virtual machine using separate disks to store different data.

An illustration showing two disks inside a virtual machine, one that stores the operating system and one that stores data.

Storage tiers

Storage tiers

Azure offers three storage tiers for blob object storage:

  1. Hot storage tier: optimized for storing data that is accessed frequently.
  2. Cool storage tier: optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days.
  3. Archive storage tier: for data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days with flexible latency requirements.

Encryption and replication

Encryption and replication

Azure provides security and high availability to your data through encryption and replication features.

Encryption for storage services

The following encryption types are available for your resources:

  1. Azure Storage Service Encryption (SSE) for data at rest helps you secure your data to meet the organization’s security and regulatory compliance. It encrypts the data before storing it and decrypts the data before retrieving it. The encryption and decryption are transparent to the user.
  2. Client-side encryption is where the data is already encrypted by the client libraries. Azure stores the data in the encrypted state at rest, which is then decrypted during retrieval.

Replication for storage availability

A replication type is set up when you create a storage account. The replication feature ensures that your data is durable and always available. Azure provides regional and geographic replications to protect your data against natural disasters and other local disasters like fire or flooding.

The following illustration shows differences between on-premise storage and Azure data storage.

An illustration showing comparison between on-premises storage and Azure data storage for several common business needs.

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