Lab Steps

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Logging in to the Microsoft Azure Portal
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Storing Blob Data in Azure
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Reviewing File Storage in Azure
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Reviewing Disk Storage in Azure
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Reviewing Azure Storage Concepts with the Azure Portal
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Here you can find the instructions for this specific Lab Step.

If you are ready for a real environment experience please start the Lab. Keep in mind that you'll need to start from the first step.

Introduction

Blob data stands for Binary Large OBject data. Blob data and can represent a wide variety of types of data you normally store on your computer including images, videos, and documents. In Azure, you can store blobs inside of storage accounts. Storage accounts are containers capable of storing different categories of data including:

  • Blobs
  • Files
  • Tables
  • Queues

You should usually choose blob storage when dealing with unstructured data. Depending on your blob storage needs you can choose between the following types of blobs in Azure blob storage:

  • Block blobs are divided into blocks of up to 100MB in size. Blobs of up to 190.7 TB (terabytes) can be stored using block blobs in Azure Storage. Using multiple blocks to represent the blob allows for more efficient handling of large blobs. Usually, the complexity of managing individual blocks is handled for you so you can simply deal with the entire blob rather than individual blocks.
  • Append blobs are optimized for appending new data at the end of the blob. This is particularly useful for storing log data where new lines are added at the end and the data never needs to be modified after it is written.
  • Page blobs are optimized for random read/write operations. The name comes from the practice of operating systems organizing memory into pages of relatively small sizes that can be easily managed. In Azure, page blobs are collections of individual pages of up to 4MB each. They are used for storing virtual machine disks in Azure.

This Lab Step focuses on block blobs which are what you will use most often for general-purpose storage. The Cloud Academy Lab environment has created a storage account for you to use for storing blobs.

 

Instructions

1. On the dashboard of the Azure Portal, click the upper-left accordion icon  to open the portal menu and click  All resources:

This view presents all the resources in the lab's resource group. These are resources that are created by the Cloud Academy lab environment for you to use throughout this lab.

 

2. In the resources table, click on the Storage account beginning with calstor (the random number at the end will differ from the screenshot below):

Note: There is a second storage account with a name starting with lababdiag that stores diagnostic data for the lab's virtual machine that you should not use for this lab step.

 

3. On the Overview blade, notice the information near the top of the page:

There are a few properties specific to storage accounts in this section:

  • The Status indicates that the Primary storage location is Available. In the event of an outage in Azure, you may see a different value here. This storage account has no secondary storage location, but you can create storage accounts with primary and secondary storage locations. The Replication property of a storage account determines this.
  • The Performance can be standard or premium. When you need guaranteed latency you should use premium storage. Premium storage has much higher storage costs because they use solid-state drives (SSDs) whereas standard storage uses magnetic spinning hard disk drives (HDDs).
  • Access tier optimizes the storage and cost based on how frequently data is accessed. The Hot tier is for frequently accessed data and carries the highest cost for storage but the lowest cost for accessing the data. The cool and archive tiers reduce are suited for less frequently accessed data with archive offering the lowest cost for storage but the highest cost for accessing data. The archive tier actually stores the data offline and the data needs to be "rehydrated" to the hot or cool storage before it can be read. Cool and archive tiers also include a penalty if you delete the blob within 30 days and 180 days, respectively, of when they are first moved into these tiers.
  • The Replication sets the durability and availability of the storage. The following options are available:
    • Locally-redundant storage (LRS) is the cheapest option and stores the data in a single data center. If that data center goes offline you will not be able to access the data.
    • Zone-redundant storage (ZRS) stores data across three data centers in a region. It can tolerate individual data center outages but not regional outages.
    • Geo-redundant storage (GRS) stores data across multiple data centers in two regions, a primary region and a secondary region. This option is more expensive but can tolerate entire regional outages. There is also read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS) which allows you to read from the secondary region compared to GRS which only allows you to access the secondary in the case of a Microsoft-initiated region failover to the secondary.
  • Finally, the Account kind describes if the storage account is general-purpose or specialized. General-purpose accounts allow storage of blobs, tables, files, and queues whereas specialized kinds only allow one type such as only blob storage. There are different pricing models for each account kind so a specialized kind may reduce your costs. StorageV2 is the recommended default.

 

4. In the menu to the left, click Containers under the Data storage heading:

Blobs are stored inside containers.

 

5. Click + Container in the command bar and set the following values before clicking Create:

  • Namelab-container
  • Public access levelContainer (This allows anonymous access to the container and the blobs within it. It is also possible to allow no anonymous access or only anonymous access to blobs.)

Within a few seconds the container appears in the table:

 

6. Click on lab-container to view its overview.

There are no blobs in the container at this point. You will save a sample image and upload it to the container as a blob.

 

7. RIght-click the small sample image below and save the image to your computer:

Take note of where the image is saved so you can browse to it later.

 

8. In the Azure Portal, click Upload:

 

9. In the Upload blob blade that appears, expand the Advanced section to view more options:

 

Notice you can configure the Blob typeAccess tier, and Upload to folder to organize your container. Although a storage account also has an access tier, it only sets the default value for each blob. You can override the default value for each blob and this is the only possible way to set the archive access tier since it cannot be set at the storage account level.

 

10. Set the following values leaving the rest at their default values:

  • Files: Click the folder icon  and browse to the ca-square.png image you downloaded earlier.
  • Upload to folder: Enter the word images

 

11. Click Upload.

Once the upload is complete a success notification appears in the blade:

 

12. Close the Upload blob blade and click the images folder that was created by the upload:

The ca-square.png blob is displayed:

 

13. Click the ellipsis (...) at the end of the ca-square.png row to view all the options available for the blob:

Amongst the options, you can Download the blob, and Change tier to change the blob's access tier, 

 

Summary

In this Lab Step, you learned about storage accounts in Azure with an emphasis on blob storage. You can configure the access tier of blobs based on how frequently they are accessed. The archive tier offers the cheapest storage but must be rehydrated to the cool or hot tiers to read the data. The archive tier must be set at the individual blob level and cannot be used as the default access tier value for a storage account. You also created a blob container and uploaded a blob using the Azure Portal.

Validation checks
1Checks
Azure Storage Blob Container Has Been Created in the Specified Storage Account

Check if the blob container has been created in the specified storage account

Azure Storage