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Premium blob storage

As a follow-up to my blog Azure Archive Blob Storage, Microsoft has released another storage tier called Azure Premium Blob Storage (announcement).  It is in private preview in US East 2, US Central and US West regions.

This is a performance tier in Azure Blob Storage, complimenting the existing Hot, Cool, and Archive tiers.  Data in Premium Blob Storage is stored on solid-state drives, which are known for lower latency and higher transactional rates compared to traditional hard drives.

It is ideal for workloads that require very fast access time such as interactive video editing, static web content, and online transactions.  It also works well for workloads that perform many relatively small transactions, such as capturing telemetry data, message passing, and data transformation.

Microsoft internal testing shows that both average and 99th percentile server latency is significantly better than the Hot access tier, providing faster and more consistent response times for both read and write across a range of object sizes.

Premium Blob Storage is available with Locally-Redundant Storage and comes with High-Throughput Block Blobs (HTBB), which provides a) improved write throughput when ingesting larger block blobs, b) instant write throughput, and c) container and blob names have no effect on throughput.

You can store block blobs and append blobs in Premium Blob Storage (page blobs is not yet available).  To use Premium Blob Storage you provision a new ‘Block Blob’ storage account in your subscription and start creating containers and blobs using the existing Blob Service REST API and/or any existing tools such as AzCopy or Azure Storage Explorer.

Premium Blob Storage has higher data storage cost, but lower transaction cost compared to data stored in the regular Hot tier.  This makes it cost effective and can be less expensive for workloads with very high transaction rates.  Check out the pricing page for more details.

At present data stored in Premium cannot be tiered to Hot, Cool or Archive access tiers.  Microsoft is working on supporting object tiering in the future.  To move data, you can synchronously copy blobs from using the new PutBlockFromURL API (sample code) or a version of AzCopy that supports this API.  PutBlockFromURL synchronously copies data server side, which means that the data has finished copying when the call completes and all data movement happens inside Azure Storage.

Check out the announcement on how to signup for the private preview.

To summarize the four storage tiers:

  • Premium storage (preview) provides high performance hardware for data that is accessed frequently
  • Hot storage: is optimized for storing data that is accessed frequently
  • Cool storage is optimized for storing data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days
  • Archive storage is optimized for storing data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days with flexible latency requirements (on the order of hours)

More info:

Premium Block Blob Storage – a new level of performance

James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger (JamesSerra.com) and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

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