Microsoft Azure and most other cloud providers offer several different types of storage, each with its own pricing structure and preferred usage.
Azure storage types include objects, managed files, and managed disks. Customers must understand their often specific uses prior to implementation. Each type of storage has different pricing tiers – usually based on performance and availability – to make each accessible to businesses of all sizes and types. Azure tailors storage types to specific workloads, such as file or database storage.
An organization that intends to purchase Azure Storage should first assess its needs. Azure Storage can be expensive, so avoid many unnecessary costs by taking the time to assess the types, tiers, and amount of storage needed. Most organizations will use more than one type of storage.
1. Azure Blob Storage
Blob is one of the most common Azure storage types. Azure Blob Storage is Microsoft’s object storage and is ideal for workloads that require large capacity storage. Microsoft has optimized Blob storage for data lakes, but it can also handle smaller workloads. Azure Blob Storage is both scalable and durable. When used with geo-replication, Blob Storage can reach 16 nines in durability.
Although Blob Storage is the go-to Azure storage type for many organizations, it can be expensive. A petabyte on the Hot tier with a one-year reservation costs $15,050 per month. Additionally, Blob storage pricing can be complex. Not only do costs vary by tier, reservation, and capacity, but there are many other charges for operations and data transfer. It can be difficult to estimate what Azure Blob Storage will cost.
2. Azure Files
Azure Files is Microsoft’s managed file storage in the cloud. Azure Files is essentially a cloud-based file server that Microsoft maintains for customers. It supports SMB and NFS file shares, used by Windows and Linux respectively. Administrators can use shares with cloud and on-premises workloads. Azure Files also works with Azure Kubernetes Service as a persistent file storage tool for containers.
Microsoft allows administrators to configure on-premises Windows Server machines to act as a cache for Azure Files storage, improving file access speeds. However, like Blob storage, Azure Files pricing is complex and figuring out how much it will cost can be difficult.
3. Azure Queue Storage
Queued storage is one of the lesser-known Azure storage types, but it can still be useful. As the name suggests, Microsoft designed Azure Queue Storage specifically to store queue messages. Queue messages are usually just instructions related to a web application. If an application runs jobs asynchronously, for example, an administrator typically needs to queue those jobs. The queue should reside in a location accessible to the web server. Cue Azure queue storage.
Queue storage works with any type of queued message less than 64KB. Microsoft too provides advice to access Azure Queue Storage from languages such as .NET, Java, Python, and Node.js. However, customers cannot store files or structured data with Queue Storage.
4. Azure Table
Microsoft designed Azure Table storage to store large amounts of structured data. This is essentially Microsoft’s NoSQL offering. NoSQL is a non-relational database that acts as a key/attribute store. Although NoSQL is arguably less sophisticated than relational databases, such as Azure SQL or Microsoft SQL Server, it tends to be more flexible in the way it allows customers to tailor a data set to the needs of their business. a workload.
Microsoft offers Azure Table storage as a managed product, so administrators can focus on their data and don’t have to worry about managing and maintaining the underlying server infrastructure.
5. Azure Managed Disks
Like the Azure Queue and Table storage types, Microsoft designed managed disks for specific use. When administrators create an Azure VM, the VM’s volumes reside on managed disks. Azure managed disks use redundancy to achieve five nines availability. Microsoft allows customers to create up to 50,000 virtual machine disks in a region.
When working with Azure Managed Disks, consider capacity and performance requirements. Costs vary depending on the type of storage hardware and the size of the virtual disk.