Azure Data Storage Options


Benefits of storing data in the cloud

  • Automated backup and recovery

  • Replication across the globe

  • Support for data analytics

  • Encryption capabilities

  • Multiple data types

  • Data storage in virtual disks

  • Storage tiers

Types of data

Structured Data
Data that adheres to a schema. Relational data
Semi-Structured Data
Using tags and keys to provide hierarchy. Used in NoSQL databases
Unstructured Data
Data with no designated structure

Azure Data storage

Azure SQL database

Relational Database as a service. Based on Microsoft SQL Server database engine.

Uses the Microsoft Data Migration Assistant to generate reports to guide through migration.

Azure Cosmos DB

Globally distributed database service supporting schema-less data (NoSQL). Used for highly responsive and always-on applications

Azure Blob storage

Holds unstructured data

Azure data lake

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 Files

Offers fully managed file shares in the cloud over SMB (Server Message Block).

Azure Queue

Used for storing large numbers of messages

Can be used 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

Disk storage

Provides disks for virtual machines and other services to access as they need. Comes in many different sizes and performance levels, from SSDs to HDDs.

Storage tiers

Azure offers 3 storage tiers for blob object storage

  1. Hot storage - Accessed frequently

  2. Cool storage - Infrequent access

  3. Archive storage - Rarely accessed

Encryption and replication

The following encryption types are available for your resources:

  • Azure Storage Service Encryption (SSE) - For data at rest. Encrypts before storing and decrypts during retrieval

  • Client side encryption - Data already encrypted by the client libraries. Decrypted during retrieval

Comparison with on premises storage

NeedsOn PremisesAzure data storage
Compliance and securityDedicated servers required for privacy and securityClient side encryption and encryption at rest
Store structured and unstructured dataAdditional IT resources with dedicated servers requiredAzure data lake and portal analyses and manages all types of data
Replication and high availabilityMore resources, licensing and servers requiredBuilt in replication and redundancy features available
Application sharing and access to shared resourcesFile sharing requires additional administration resourcesFile sharing options without additional license
Relational data storageNeeds a database server with database admin roleOffers DBaaS options
Distributed storage and data accessExpensive storage, networking and compute resources neededAzure Cosmos DB provides distributed access
Messaging and load balancingHardware redundancy impacts budget and resourcesAzure Queue provides effective load balancing
Tiered storageManagement of tiered storage needs technology and labour skill setAzure offers automated tiered storage of data