What is an Azure Blob and Why Do We Like It?

What is an Azure Blob and Why Do We Like It?

What does the word “blob” mean to you? For me, the word conjures the so-bad-it’s-almost-good Sci-Fi movie released in 1958. For many people, a blob is something shapeless and undefined, like a dollop of jelly.

It’s time to see the blob in a new light. Enter: Azure Blob Storage by Microsoft. The mechanics of a website are simultaneously complex and simple. One one hand, you can imagine that each website is represented by thousands of lines of code (behind the scenes) that only programmers understand. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a programmer to understand that every element of a website - from images to PDFs - has to live somewhere. If you see a photo embedded on a page, you know that the actual file is being stored on a physical server or in the cloud.

At Fyin.com, we rely heavily on Azure Blob Storage. What is it? In Microsoft's own words, Azure Blob Storage is “Microsoft's object storage solution for the cloud. Blob storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data, such as text or binary data.” We also recommend the use of Azure Blob Storage in conjunction with Umbraco media. We favor this platform because it allows for media/content changes to sync between multiple servers. Plus, back-ups are automatic. Blob storage is ideal for:

  • Serving images or documents directly to a browser.
  • Storing files for distributed access.
  • Streaming video and audio.
  • Storing data for backup and restore, disaster recovery, and archiving.
  • Storing data for analysis by an on-premises or Azure-hosted service.

Here are a few benefits:

  • Durable and highly available. Redundancy ensures that your data is safe in the event of transient hardware failures. You can also opt to replicate data across data centers or geographical regions for additional protection from local catastrophe or natural disaster. Data replicated in this way remains highly available in the event of an unexpected outage.
  • Secure. All data written to Azure Storage is encrypted by the service. Azure Storage provides you with fine-grained control over who has access to your data.
  • Scalable. Azure Storage is designed to be massively scalable to meet the data storage and performance needs of today's applications.
  • Managed. Microsoft Azure handles maintenance and any critical problems for you.
  • Accessible. Data in Azure Storage is accessible from anywhere in the world over HTTP or HTTPS.

At Fyin.com, we are committed to playing the role of technology advocate for our client partners. We recommend Azure Blob Storage because it is scalable and robust.  And if that’s not enough of an endorsement . . . we use it for our own site!