Azure Storage – Hot, Cold, Archive

There’s a lot of talk about storage options. When working with customers, I often introduce them to Azure through storage, since it’s a great way to leverage cloud assets in a positive, non-threatening way.

In Azure there are 3 types of storage within Azure blob storage. Today, I’d like to show how you can use storage as you start to look at using Azure more effectively in your organization. When looking at these types of storage, you need to think about how often and how quickly you want to access that data, as well as its role.

Hot Storage

The original Azure blob storage. Here, you put data into the blob storage account and you’re able to access that data with many options in storage from that access. Hot storage is a great option that allows you the basic storage options, such as accepting files from a customer as part of your data warehouse load or if you want to drop files up there to keep in place for a while. You can easily access the data and can read and write to it and get the best performance for doing that.

Cool Storage

Introduced by Azure to get some cost reductions into the environment. Think of it as a high availability back up scenario. This is a good option for storing data that doesn’t need to be readily accessed often. The performance is there as far as getting your data quickly when you do need it but note you will pay a higher price for extraction of that data when needed. This is what Microsoft uses to manage the cost of the storage.

Archive Storage

This is truly an archive storage option. When you put the data up there, you’re not planning to get it back out. There’s no read access, but a write to only storage area. A good option for a full board disaster recovery or compliance and auditing scenarios, where you may need to retain 10 years of that data, but you’re not going to take it out. If you want to get that data out, you’ll need to change the storage account type.

The thing to remember is this does not happen quickly, so as part of any solution, you’ll need to put how many hours into recovery as your window. If you do need to open it, for an audit for instance, it may take a few days, but the data is there.

With all these options, you can get your offline storage for whatever you’re doing. From a backup or recovery standpoint, it gives you that security. Understanding these options, as far as accessibility, cost and performance, is important to decide what you need for your organization.