Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, a Secure Cloud Storage for Big Data
Microsoft Azure Blob Storage is a special service used for storing and retrieving large amounts of unstructured data of any type, including text files, database files, image files, or virtual hard drive files. All blobs must be stored in a special container which can hold an unlimited number of different blobs.
Users can access blobs from any place in the world using HTTPS or HTTP. Microsoft Azure Blob Storage storage can be used to exposed data publicly or to store them privately.
There are lots of reasons to use blog storage but most commonly they are used for:
- Storing different files for distributed access
- Storing data for backups and archiving
- Streaming audio and video
- Serving documents and images directly to a browser
- Storing data for analysis
Azure Storage blobs can be of three types: block blobs, append blobs, and page blobs.
- Block blobs can hold text or ordinary files like media files or documents with the total size of about 4.75 TB.
- Append blobs are also made up of separate blocks which are optimized for performing append operations and can be used for logging scenarios. A total size of an append blob is a bit more than 165 GB.
- Page blobs can contain random access files with a total size up to 8 TB. They are commonly used for storing VHD files and are effective for frequent read/write operations.
To take advantage of Azure Blob Storage Services, users have to create a storage account and after that, they will be able to transfer their data to or from a certain service on that account. When there is a need to upload or download large data sets, users can ship a set of HDDs to Microsoft to export or import data directly from the data center.