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Windows Azure – Azure Storage and SQL Azure

 

Introduction:

In this article we are going to see what is an azure storage and different types of storage options available with Azure. Azure has two options to have storage, one is the Azure storage and the other one is the SQL Storage. In this article we will see more on the options available for the Azure storage section. In the later section we will see some small outline of the SQL Azure as well to get clear idea on the differences.

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Types:

Azure storage has very good advantage over the SQL azure, first of all its inexpensive and can be used on a vast area when compared to the SQL Azure. Azure storage is charged at 15cents per gigabytes spent on the server when compared to SQL Azure which charges 10$ for each gigabytes spend on the server per month. Azure storage can be expanded as and when the process required to and its scalable and has many advantages when compared to SQL Azure.

SQL Azure is nothing but the SQL version running on a cloud environment, we can’t simply justify the statement since some of the features normally SQL Server 2008 have are not available with the SQL azure. Microsoft has provided a list of limitations and can be viewed at the link http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee336245.aspx

Windows Azure Types:

Windows azure has 4 types of Azure storage section as shown below

1. Table Storage

2. Blob Storage

3. Queue Storage

4. Azure drives

Let us see on what are the purpose and uses of each storage.

Table Storage:

This storage is used to store structured data, which are similar to a table but are not relational. Table storages are used in better way to stored Business entities in a structured format and its advantages in many ways compared to the other ones. They are composed of collection of properties, entities and properties further classified with collection of name, types etc. Only disadvantage we can see with the table storage is as and like data access procedure we can’t use ADO.net to connect to the database, instead we need to use REST ful access using http://f5debug.table.core.winodws.net/mylearn

Blob Storage:

Blob (Binary large Objects) as most of the developers should be familiar of is used to store images, documents or Videos which are larger than something normally we store in a database like a sting or an id. Basically blob storage is used to storage binary data which are not easily compatible for storing larger data. This blog storage stores the data in containers which are of two types as mentioned below

  • Block blob
  • Page blob

Block blob are limited to 200GB while page blob are limited to 1TB which are very much used to store large data’s as and when required. Same like the table storage it has the same disadvantage of not accessible using the normal ADO.Net concept instead we can use the REST full access using http://f5Debug.blob.core.windows.net/containername/blobname.

Queue Storage:

Queue storages are used to do a message transport between applications as normally we can consider a MSMQ do that in cloud. This storage can be used to do transactions real time in sending and receiving messages. Queue messages are used to send messages of 8kb each and are not suitable for sending large objects as messages. So for doing transactions for the large objects in real time we can use an URI of the blob as a message for the transaction.

The messages will be remained in the queue unless it’s been deleted. If messages are read by one application then that message will be marked as invisible to the other application and will not be available online. Because of this we will not be sure on which order the process will happen for the message queues.

Azure Drives:

This storage drives allow access using the standard NTFS like we normally have it locally. The application which has the storage locally can be used to update the status locally and if we want to migrate this type of application to the cloud then Azure drives are used.

Conclusion:

In this article we have seen the different storage options available with windows Azure. In the upcoming articles we will see on how to implement each and every storage and the advantages of using them.

About Author: Karthikeyan Anbarasan, Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in ASP.NET/IIS Architecture. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of the www.f5debug.net website and has authored books on Windows Phone and Business Intelligence(SSIS). He is also a Passionate Speaker and a Blogger on Microsoft Technologies.

You can Join Me On: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn

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This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. For accuracy and official reference refer to MSDN/ TechNet. I have documented my personal experience on this blog.

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