Data storage in Azure: Everything you need to know

Microsoft Azure has many data storage options, so how do you choose what to use? This guide explains the options

Choosing the right cloud storage option is never as straightforward as you think it might be. You end up having to juggle prices, for both saving and reading your data, for bandwidth, and even for the class of server that’s hosting your bits. And there are different storage technology options as well.

The first question you need to ask is “What kind of data am I trying to store?” Cloud services have the opportunity to step beyond the tiering model we often use in on-premises infrastructures, using storage models that are more suited to cloud applications and their particular needs. They may look like disks to the outside world, but you’re going to be working against specialized code that won’t offer the same features as a general-purpose disk file system.

But don’t fear that specialized focus. Modern disk file systems are complex tools, designed to handle anything you might do with a PC or a server. By focusing on a specific task, cloud file systems can tune performance and reliability features, building on underlying hardware and on newer, reliable file systems that are only now starting to roll out in the wider, on-premises world.

Understanding Azure’s blob stores

Microsoft tried to deliver an object file system for Windows—and failed. There’s too much overhead in building and managing an index for all the many different types of files stored on a PC.

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