Best Practices of using Azure Blob Storage

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Top 6 Best Practices For Blob Storage

Azure from Microsoft offers cloud storage services that come with several benefits including durability, scalability, and security. Azure has five types of storage, four data redundancy levels, three types of storage tiers, and two different storage accounts. In this article, we take a look at the Blob Storage service of Azure and the best practices related to its storage.

What is Azure Blob Storage?

Offered by Azure, Blob storage is a cloud storage service used for Binary Large Objects (BLOB). It becomes possible for users to store unstructured data in large numbers. There are several components in the storage service.

  • Blob: It is a file that can have any size or type.
  • Container: Collection of multiple blobs, and there is no fixed number in a particular container. It is essential that the container has a lowercase.
  • Storage account: The three storage account types include General Purpose v1 (GPv1), General Purpose v2 (GPv2), and dedicated account.

GPv2 has numerous storage choices such as Azure file storage, tables, disks, etc. There are no replication alternatives and performance tiers with dedicated blob storage systems.

Which blob type suits me best?

Every blob type has a specific purpose, while often people utilize one, slowly developers have started adopting multiple blobs as well:

  • Append: These get optimized for logging scenarios. They differ from block blobs in terms of storage space. It can store only 4MB of data, making its total size 195 GB.
  • Block: Store text, documents, and binary files. It can store 100 MB blocks for a total of up to 50,000 such blobs. The overall size limit remains restricted to 4.75 TB.
  • Page: Ideal for better writing and reading scenarios as they have storage space of up to 8 TB. It comes in a standard and premium version. The standard option is ideal for VM-related reading and writing, while premium is useful for advanced VM works.

Any best practices for Blob Storage?

While one gets comfortable using this service, it is essential to follow few basic guidelines to ensure infrastructure components are well-architected. There is no cost spill over, compliance or security issues. The billing of Azure includes charges for traffic, storage space, and stored data operations. The cost and data availability gets affected due to various components. Here are some best practices one needs to keep in mind and if possible, adhere to:

  • Cache-control header

Improves availability, you can also experience a reduced number of transactions for every storage control. The server loads for a static website hosted on Azure blob storage can get reduced when the cache-control header gets placed on the client-side.

  • Content type

The files get stored by default as application/octet-stream on blob storage. It leads to a scenario where a browser will automatically download the file rather than showing it. So it is essential for users to change file types during uploads. Parsing and updating the properties of all files is critical before changing the file type.

  • Upload and download

The performance of applications gets compromised when there is a large data upload on the blob. If you want to improve the speed of uploads in Page and Block blobs, you can opt for parallel uploads. It will help in saving huge time related to uploads.

  • Blob type

There are peculiar characteristics of every blob and choosing the right type is essential. Block blobs are ideal for streaming solutions, while Page blobs are better for reading and writing. Parallel uploads are ideal for large blocks.

  • Snapshots

These increase the storage space through the caching of the data. You do not have to pay anything extra and still can get the backup copy of the blob. It is advisable to create multiple snapshots to increase system availability. You can keep the original blob for writing and the default ones for reading.

  • Content delivery

The content delivery network can prevent latency through cached content on servers. It will also help in improving availability. The network will have a duplicate blob in the case of content delivery networks for blob storage.

Conclusion

If you follow the best practices listed here, you will be able to effectively manage the blobs. It will also ensure better availability with the help of an auto-scaling environment. Furthermore, you can also experience reduced storage costs. When you manage your blob storage well, you can concentrate on applications instead of infrastructure. As you grow your environment, it becomes essential to manage if more efficiently. While Azure itself provides numerous services and dashboards, it’s important to keep in mind not to neglect the adoption of autonomous governance tools like CloudEnsure which can actually help in adopting the best practices in an automated and seamless manner and at the same time give ability to monitor and govern without spending too much time into it.

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