Simple-Talk Article…Understanding Azure Storage Options

Simple- Talk is technical journal and community hub from RedgateThis week I have the pleasure of being a guest Author and explain Azure storage options. I cover types of storage accounts, supported services, what performance tiers work with each storage account, and what kind of access you have with those storage types. Be sure to check it out.

Here’s an excerpt….

Editor’s Intro:

The choices found when provisioning storage in Azure can be overwhelming. In this article, Monica Rathbun explains the options to help your organization research which storage might be right for your solution.

Understanding Azure Storage Options

Azure can be a complicated mess of alphabet soup with all the acronyms Microsoft uses to define options within the cloud structure. In this article, I am going to decipher some of that for you starting with storage and redundancy. I’ll cover types of storage accounts, supported services, what performance tiers work with each storage account, and what kind of access you have with those storage types.

Azure Storage offers several different types of options. Both storage accounts and managed disks are part of the offerings—typically you’re going to use storage accounts for programmatic storage access, whereas managed disks will be used for your Infrastructure as a Service VMs. There are unmanaged disked available for VMs as well, but that’s not recommended at all. Unmanaged disks means that you will manage the storage account and not Azure. It is actually a file (.vhd) residing on a Azure Storage account and not an ARM file. Adversely, with managed disk all you have to do is specify whether you want Premium or Standard and the size of the disk and Azure creates and manages the disk for you. Simplifing the entire process. I only mention it here so that you know the difference. It is important to note unmanaged is again not recommend and an older way of doing things.

Let’s start with Data Access Tiers for Azure Blob Storage which are part of storage accounts.

Azure offers Data Access Tiers to storage such as Hot, Cool and Archive, which has the potential to save you money.

  • Hot gives you the ability to optimize your storage for frequently accessed data.
  • Cool is optimized for more infrequently accessed data. Data must remain for a minimum of 30 days. Removal before then will incur a charge.
  • Archive is rarely accessed and kept in storage for a minimum of 180 days.

You can use Cool storage is for things like short term back-up and recovery solutions which are not accessed until needed but can be accessed immediately when required. This will save you money compared to Hot storage. To save even more money, you can place things like long term back-ups, compliance data, or rarely used data on Archived storage. The expectation is that you will keep the data here long term and won’t require immediate retrieval. Think of this like sending your tape backups to Iron Mountain. You’ll need to wait for the data to be mounted which would take considerable time (up to 14 hours), but you will pay a much lower storage rate. However, keep in mind, if you take data out too soon, you will be charged an early delete fee of the retention period-days stored * rate.

You can find the full article using the link below.


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