As a follow up on the Azure Storage account configuration, this article covers the steps about Azure Blob Storage. Blob storage (as Binary Large Object) provides the flexibility that organizations demand. Long term retention is not the only criteria dictating for the storage of choice. Certainly the ability to present data to applications and the option to quickly restore (download from the Cloud) it is a key requirement as well. It goes without saying the Azure Blob Storage covers these criteria and more.
The purpose of this article is to provide a quick tour of the first time settings just after the Azure Storage account creation. In particular these steps refer to an Azure General-purpose V2 storage type. Which among the others includes the Blob storage.
How does Microsoft Azure Blob Storage works?
Azure Blob Storage is Microsoft solution for the cloud. Blob storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data. Unstructured does not adhere to a particular data model or definition, such as text or binary data. In general, Blob storage is designed for:
- Serving images or documents directly to a browser
- Storing files for distributed access
- Streaming video and audio
- Writing to log files
- Storing data for backup and restore, disaster recovery, and archiving
- Storing data for analysis by an on-premises or Azure-hosted service
The intention for this article to show the steps to create a Container to store for long term retention the Veeam Backup Data as of the latest 9.5 Update 4b and the blob storage functionalities.
Azure Blob Storage overview
From the Azure Storage account the pertinent section on the Blob service section shows the main configuration details. It is possible to create different containers and use separate settings for each one of those. For example the authentication settings, the access policy and metadata.
Adding a new container the first option is to specify a name and the access type. Private or Public for the blobs only, the container or both.
As soon as the Azure Blob storage container is created it is possible to view and change specific properties.
This is the main location (for this container) where data will be located in a very highly nested levels for folders and sub-folders for data and metadata.
From an Azure perspective and as per other objects as well it is possible to grant, revoke and check specific roles and permissions. Very useful to match this one with groups of users or service accounts within the tenant organization. It requires Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) resource enabled. Better check the pricing model and cost for this resource.
In the Access policy section the option to create specific “profiles” along with a specific type of access. This can also be configured on a time based approach. More interestingly also the option in the second part to add retention rules from a Legal hold perspective and immutable storage as well. During such periods data cannot be deleted. After the period expires blob data is kept until manually deleted. Very interesting for example to enable the immutable backups feature. Last but not least is is also possible to create custom tags to quickly identify content for example in case of litigation.
The Properties section shows the main settings like the Azure Blob Storage name of the container and the lease status. The calculate size shows the number of different blob types (when enabled) like block, page and append blobs along with the total count for each.
Last but not least the Metadata section to further classify blob data with additional tags.