Azure Storage is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution for modern data storage scenarios. Azure Storage offers a massively scalable object store for data objects, a file system service for the cloud, a messaging store for reliable messaging, and a NoSQL store.

Azure Storage is

Durable and highly available: Redundancy ensures that your data is safe in the event of transient hardware failures. You can also opt to replicate data across datacenters or geographical regions for additional protection from local catastrophe or natural disaster. Data replicated in this way remains highly available in the event of an unexpected outage.

Security:  All data written to Azure Storage is encrypted by the service. Azure Storage provides you with fine-grained control over who has access to your data.

Scalability: Azure Storage is designed to be massively scalable to meet the data storage and performance needs of today’s applications.

Manageability: Microsoft Azure handles hardware maintenance, updates, and critical issues for you.

Accessibility: Data in Azure Storage is accessible from anywhere in the world over HTTP or HTTPS. Microsoft provides client libraries for Azure Storage in a variety of languages, including .NET, Java, Node.js, Python, PHP, Ruby, Go, and others, as well as a mature REST API.

Azure Storage supports scripting in Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI. And the Azure portal and Azure Storage Explorer offer easy visual solutions for working with your data.

Azure Storage services

Azure Storage includes these data services:
Azure Blobs: A massively scalable object store for text and binary data.
Azure Files: Managed file shares for cloud or on-premises deployments.
Azure Queues: A messaging store for reliable messaging between application components.
Azure Tables: A NoSQL store for schema less storage of structured data.

Blob storage

Azure Blob storage is Microsoft’s object storage solution for the cloud. Blob storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data, such as text or binary data.
Blob storage is ideal for:

  • Serving images or documents directly to a browser.
  • Storing files for distributed access.
  • Streaming video and audio.
  • Storing data for backup and restore, disaster recovery, and archiving.
  • Storing data for analysis by an on-premises or Azure-hosted service.

Objects in Blob storage can be accessed from anywhere in the world via HTTP or HTTPS. Users or client applications can access blobs via URLs, the Azure Storage REST API, Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, or an Azure Storage client library. The storage client libraries are available for multiple languages, including .NET, Java, Node.js, Python, PHP, and Ruby.

Azure Files

Azure Files enables you to set up highly available network file shares that can be accessed by using the standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. That means that multiple VMs can share the same files with both read and write access. You can also read the files using the REST interface or the storage client libraries.

One thing that distinguishes Azure Files from files on a corporate file share is that you can access the files from anywhere in the world using a URL that points to the file and includes a shared access signature (SAS) token. You can generate SAS tokens; they allow specific access to a private asset for a specific amount of time.

File shares can be used for many common scenarios:

  • Many on-premises applications use file shares. This feature makes it easier to migrate those applications that share data to Azure. If you mount the file share to the same drive letter that the on-premises application uses, the part of your application that accesses the file share should work with minimal, if any, changes.
  • Configuration files can be stored on a file share and accessed from multiple VMs. Tools and utilities used by multiple developers in a group can be stored on a file share, ensuring that everybody can find them, and that they use the same version.
  • Diagnostic logs, metrics, and crash dumps are just three examples of data that can be written to a file share and processed or analyzed later.

Queue storage

The Azure Queue service is used to store and retrieve messages. Queue messages can be up to 64 KB in size, and a queue can contain millions of messages. Queues are generally used to store lists of messages to be processed asynchronously.

Table storage

Azure Table storage is now part of Azure Cosmos DB. In addition to the existing Azure Table storage service, there is a new Azure Cosmos DB Table API offering that provides throughput-optimized tables, global distribution, and automatic secondary indexes.

Disk storage

An Azure managed disk is a virtual hard disk (VHD). You can think of it like a physical disk in an on-premises server but, virtualized. Azure managed disks are stored as page blobs, which are a random IO storage object in Azure. We call a managed disk ‘managed’ because it is an abstraction over page blobs, blob containers, and Azure storage accounts. With managed disks, all you have to do is provision the disk, and Azure takes care of the rest.