Azure File Storage

  • Offers fully managed cloud-based file storage that can be accessed through the industry-standard server message block (SMB) protocol.

Features

  • Mount your Azure File share from Windows, Linux, or macOS.
  • Azure File Sync enables you to access your data from SMB, REST, or even on-premises.
  • Encrypt data at rest and in transit using SMB 3.0 and HTTPS.
  • Lift and shift applications to the cloud, where the application data is moved to Azure Files, and the application continues to run on-premises.
  • Store configuration files in a centralized location where they can be accessed from many application instances.
  • Azure Files provides the capability of taking share snapshots of file shares.

Storage Tiers

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  • Premium file shares (SSD)
    • High performance & low latency, within single-digit milliseconds for most IO operations.
    • For IO-intensive workloads.
  • Standard file shares (HDD)
    • Reliable performance for IO workloads which are less latency-sensitive.
  • If you created either a premium or a standard file share, you cannot automatically convert it to the other tier.

Detail

Premium

Standard

Billing model

Provisioned Billing Model, pay for how much storage you provision rather than how much storage you actually ask for.

Pay-As-You-Go Model, the bill will increase if you use (read/write/mount) the Azure file share more.

Redundancy options

It is available for locally redundant (LRS) and zone redundant (ZRS) storage.

It is available for locally redundant, zone redundant, geo-redundant (GRS), and geo-zone redundant (GZRS) storage.

Maximum size of file share

Provisioned for up to 100 TiB.

5 TiB by default, 100 TiB for locally redundant or zone redundant storage accounts.

Regional availability

File shares are not available in each region, but zone redundant support is available in a smaller subset of regions.

Available in every Azure region.

 

Supported devices

  • To use an Azure file share outside of the Azure region the OS must support SMB 3.0
  • To mount an Azure file sharing on Windows, you must have access to port 445.

Windows version

SMB version

Mountable in Azure VM

Mountable on-premises

Windows Server 2019

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows 101

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows Server semi-annual channel2

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2016

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows 8.1

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2012 R2

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2012

SMB 3.0

Yes

Yes

Windows 73

SMB 2.1

Yes

No

Windows Server 2008 R23

SMB 2.1

Yes

No

 

  • Linux clients can also access the file storage through the SMB protocol.

Linux distribution

SMB 2.1 (Mounts on VMs within same Azure region)

SMB 3.0 (Mounts from on-premises and cross-region)

Ubuntu

14.04+

16.04+

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

7+

7.5+

CentOS

7+

7.5+

Debian

8+

10+

openSUSE

13.2+

42.3+

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

12+

12 SP3+

 

Encryption

  • By default, encrypted with Microsoft-managed keys and responsible for rotating them on a regular basis.
  • Using Microsoft-managed keys, you can also choose to manage your own keys, which gives you control over the rotation process.
  • With customer-managed keys, Azure file storage is authorized to access your keys to fulfill read and write requests from your clients.

Networking

  • SMB uses port 445.
  • Accessible from anywhere, via the public endpoint of the storage account.
  • Azure file shares over an ExpressRoute or VPN connection:
    • Tunneling into a virtual network, even if port 445 is blocked.
    • Private endpoints give you a dedicated IP address from within the address space of the virtual network.
    • Allows you to configure DNS forwarding.

Azure File Sync

  • Transform an on-premises (or cloud) Windows Server into a quick cache of your Azure file share.
  • Only NTFS volumes are supported; ReFS, FAT, FAT32, and other file systems are not supported.
  • The service supports interop with DFS Namespaces (DFS-N) and DFS Replication (DFS-R).

Azure Blob vs Disk vs File Storage:
https://tutorialsdojo.com/azure-blob-vs-disk-vs-file-storage/

Azure File Shares and Azure File Sync Overview

Sources:
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/storage/files/
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/files/storage-files-introduction
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/files/storage-how-to-use-files-windows
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/files/storage-how-to-use-files-linux

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