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Azure Blob Storage enhancing data protection and recovery capabilities

Today, we are announcing the general availability of Geo-Zone-Redundant Storage (GZRS)—providing protection against regional disasters and Account failover—allowing you to determine when to initiate a failover instead.

Enterprises, partners, and IT professionals store business-critical data in Azure Blob Storage. We are committed to providing the best-in-class data protection and recovery capabilities to keep your applications running. Today, we are announcing the general availability of Geo-Zone-Redundant Storage (GZRS)—providing protection against regional disasters and Account failover—allowing you to determine when to initiate a failover instead.

Additionally, we are releasing two new preview features: Versioning and Point in time restore. These new functionalities expand upon Azure Blob Storage’s existing capabilities such as data redundancy, soft delete, account delete locking, and immutable blobs, making our data protection and restore capabilities even better.

Geo-Zone-Redundant Storage (GZRS)

Geo-Zone-Redundant Storage (GZRS) and Read-Access Geo-Zone-Redundant Storage (RA-GZRS) are now generally available offering intra-regional and inter-regional high availability and disaster protection for your applications.

GZRS writes three copies of your data synchronously across multiple Azure Availability zones, similar to Zone redundant storage (ZRS), providing you continued read and write access even if a datacenter or availability zone is unavailable. In addition, GZRS asynchronously replicates your data to the secondary geo pair region to protect against regional unavailability. RA-GZRS exposes a read endpoint on this secondary replica allowing you to read data in the event of primary region unavailability.

To learn more, see Azure Storage redundancy.

Account failover

Customer-initiated storage account failover is now generally available, allowing you to determine when to initiate a failover instead of waiting for Microsoft to do so. When you perform a failover, the secondary replica of the storage account becomes the new primary. The DNS records for all storage service endpoints—blob, file, queue, and table—are updated to point to this new primary. Once the failover is complete, clients will automatically begin reading from and writing to data to the storage account in the new primary region, with no code changes.

Customer initiated failover is available for GRS, RA-GRS, GZRS and RA-GZRS accounts. To learn more, see our Disaster recovery and account failover documentation.

Versioning preview

Applications create, update, and delete data continuously. A common requirement is the ability to access and manage both current and previous versions of the data. Versioning automatically maintains prior versions of an object and identifies them with version IDs. You can restore a prior version of a blob to recover your data if it is erroneously modified or deleted.

A version captures a committed blob state at a given point in time. When versioning is enabled for a storage account, Azure Storage automatically creates a new version of a blob each time that blob is modified or deleted.

Versioning and soft delete work together to provide you with optimal data protection. To learn more, see our documentation on Blob versioning.

Point in time restore preview

Point in time restore for Azure Blob Storage provides storage account administrators the ability to restore a subset of containers or blobs within a storage account to a previous state. This can be done by an administrator to a specific past date and time in the event of an application corrupting data, a user inadvertently deleting contents, or a test run of a machine learning model.

Point in time restore makes use of Blob Change feed, currently in preview. Change feed enables recording of all blob creation, modification, and deletion operations that occur in your storage account. Today we are expanding upon our Change feed preview by enabling four new regions and enabling support for two new blob event types: BlobPropertiesUpdated and BlobSnapshotCreated.

This improvement now captures change records caused by the SetBlobMetadata, SetBlobProperties, and SnapshotBlob operations. To learn more, read Change feed support in Azure Blob Storage (Preview).

Point in time restore is intended for ISV partners and customers who want to implement their own restore workflow on top of Azure Storage. To learn more, see Point in time restore.

Build it, use it, and tell us about it

These new capabilities provide greater data protection control for all users of Azure Storage. The general availability release of GZRS adds region-replicated zone redundancy types. Account failover allows customers to control geo-replicated failover for their storage accounts. In addition, the previews of Versioning and Point in time restore allow greater control of data protection and restoration to a previous date and time.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on these features and suggestions for future improvements through email at AzureStorageFeedback@microsoft.com. As a reminder, we love hearing all of your ideas and suggestions about Azure Storage, which you can post at the Azure Storage feedback forum.