An Azure storage account is a secure account that provides access to Azure storage services (which will be covered later in this chapter), and a unique namespace for storage resources. During the creation of a new Azure storage account, you will have the option to choose one of three kinds of storage accounts
- Storage (general purpose v1).
- StorageV2 (general purpose v2).
- Blob storage account
General-purpose storage account v1
A general-purpose storage account v1 gives you access to all Azure Storage services, such as blobs, tables, files, and queues, in a unified account. It has two performance tiers: standard and premium. This type is not the most cost-effective type of storage and it is the only type that still supports the classic Azure services and does not support the latest features.
Blob storage account
Unlike a general-purpose storage account, not all Azure Storage services are meant to be stored in a Blob storage account because they are dedicated to storing unstructured data. Therefore, a Blob storage service is the only type allowed to be accessed by a Blob storage account. However, it only supports blocks and appends blobs.
A Blob storage account has a usage pattern called access tiers, which determines how frequently you access your data and, based on that, what you will get billed. Currently, there are three types:
- Hot access tier.
- Cool access tier.
- Archive access tier
Hot access tier
With the hot access tier, objects will be accessed more frequently, so you will pay less for data access, but pay more for data size. This tier is commonly used for scenarios where you have data that has many read/write processes.
Cool access tier
With the cool access tier, objects will be accessed less frequently, so you will pay more for data access, but less for data size. This tier can be used as a backup solution since you will not be accessing this data frequently.
Archive access tier
This tier is meant for rarely accessed storage and it is the cheapest tier, as the terabyte would cost about $2.05 per month. Since this data will be offline, it can take up to 15 hours to move back to another tier to be able to access it again. This tier is available at the blob level, not the storage account. It can be used as backup solution also but for long-term plans because you will barely access this data and in the meantime to benefit from its price or just storing your old data for compliance to the company’s policies.
Premium access tier
At the time of writing, this tier is in preview. It provides high performance hardware and would fit very frequently accessed data with low latency. The data for this tier will be stored in SSDs and it supports the block Blob storage account type only as of now.
General-purpose storage account v2
This version combines the features of version 1 and the Blob storage account. In other words, this account will support the latest features for storage services, such as blobs, files, queues, and tables, in addition to the access tiers of Blob storage. It’s recommended to make sure that your newly created storage account is v2.
Azure Storage account tips
The following tips will increase your knowledge about Azure Storage, and will definitely help you when you want to design a storage solution on Azure:
- You cannot switch between an Azure general-purpose storage account and an Azure Blob storage account, but you can upgrade a v1 general storage account to v2.
- You can switch between access tiers with a Blob storage account and a v2 general storage account, but there is the possibility of additional charges being incurred.
- A Blob storage account does not support the ZRS replication type at the time of writing .
- Premium storage only supports locally redundant storage as a replication type at the time of writing.
- Premium storage is not supported for a Blob storage account at the time of writing.
- Azure supports up to 200 storage accounts per subscription by default.
- A storage account can store data up to 500 TB.
- If you are using REST APIs to connect to Azure Storage, you can secure the transfer by enabling that option during the creation of a storage account.
- Only lowercase letters and numbers are supported for the name of a storage account.
- Access tiers are not supported for premium storage accounts.
- The archive access tier can only be set at blob level and not the account