Core storage services
The Azure Storage platform includes the following data services:
- Azure Blobs: A massively scalable object store for text and binary data. Also includes support for big data analytics through Data Lake Storage Gen2.
- 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 schemaless storage of structured data.
- Azure Disks: Block-level storage volumes for Azure VMs.
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.
For more information about Blob storage, see Introduction to Blob storage.
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.
- Resource logs, metrics, and crash dumps are just three examples of data that can be written to a file share and processed or analyzed later.
For more information about Azure Files, see Introduction to Azure Files.
Some SMB features are not applicable to the cloud. For more information, see Features not supported by the Azure File service.