Azure Blob Storage

Natasha Ong
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4 min read

In a nutshell:

Azure Blob Storage is a versatile cloud-based object storage solution for all sorts of data, including binary data.
It's unstructured and can handle multiple uploads, making it great for images, videos, backups, and more.
You can manage storage costs by using different access tiers: Hot, Cool, Cold, and Archive, depending on data usage.

We've just had a whirlwind look at the key storage services in Azure, and now we're going to dive a lil deeper. 🤿

First up is Azure Blob Storage, the ✨ iconic ✨ storage solution that many developers and businesses use for images and backup data.

Let's get into it!

Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob Storage is an object storage solution for the cloud. It can store massive amounts of data, such as text or binary* data.

*As a quick refresher, binary data is like a computer's secret language made up of 0s and 1s. Binary data is used to stash stuff like photos, videos, and cat memes inside. 🐱 Binary data keeps everything tidy and easy to find, so Azure Blobs stays efficient when it comes to storing and taking things back out of storage.

Fun fact: why are they called Blobs? It's because BLOB standards for Binary Large Object!

Key facts about Blobs

  • Azure Blob Storage is unstructured, meaning that there are no restrictions on the kinds of data it can hold!
  • It can manage thousands of uploads happening at the same time, massive amounts of video data, constantly growing log files, and can be reached from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Blobs aren't limited to common file formats - it can go well beyond photos and videos! A blob could contain gigabytes of binary data streamed from a device, an encrypted message for another application, or data in a custom format for an app you're developing.

Blob storage is ideal for:

  • Serving images or documents directly to a website.
  • Streaming video and audio.
  • Storing data for backup and restore, disaster recovery, and archiving.
  • Storing data for another service to use and analyse.

Here's a sneak peek of Azure Blob Storage in the portal:

Blob storage tiers

Data stored in the cloud can grow really, really quickly. To manage costs for your expanding storage needs, it's helpful to organise your data based on how frequently you need it, and how long you plan to keep it for.

Data stored in the cloud can be handled differently based on how it's generated, processed, and accessed over its life!

  • Some data is actively accessed and modified throughout its lifetime.
  • Some data is accessed frequently early in its lifetime, but access drops drastically as the data ages.
  • Some data remains idle in the cloud and is rarely, if ever, accessed after it's stored.

To accommodate these different access needs, Azure provides several access tiers, which you can use to manage your storage costs with your access needs.

Azure offers different access tiers for blob storage, helping you store object data in the most cost-effective way. These tiers include:

  • Hot access tier: Optimised for storing data that is accessed frequently (for example, images for your website).
  • Cool access tier: Optimised for data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days (for example, invoices for your customers).
  • Cold access tier: Optimised for storing data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 90 days.
  • Archive access tier: Optimised for data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days, with flexible latency requirements (for example, long-term backups).