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We are excited to announce the general availability of Azure Blob Storage Cold Tier in all public and Azure Government regions except Poland Central and Qatar Central. Azure Blob Storage Cold Tier is an online tier specifically designed for efficiently storing data that is infrequently accessed or modified, all while ensuring immediate availability.

Azure Blob Storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data. With blob access tiers, you can store your data in the most cost-effective way, based on how frequently it will be accessed and how long it will be retained. Azure Blob Storage now includes a new cold online access tier option, further reducing costs.

Across diverse industries, Azure customers are harnessing the power of blob storage to address a wide range of needs. With the introduction of the new tier, customers can now experience remarkable benefits in scenarios such as backing up media content, preserving medical images, and securing critical application data for seamless business continuity and robust disaster recovery.

Cost effectiveness with cold tier

Cold tier is the most cost-effective Azure Blob Storage offering to store infrequently accessed data with long term retention requirements, while maintaining instant access. Blob access tiers maximize cost savings based on data access patterns. When your data isn’t needed for 30 days, we recommend tiering the data from hot to cool to save up to 46 percent (using the East US 2 pricing as an example) due to lower prices on capacity. When your data is even cooler, for example, if you don’t require access for 90 days or longer, cold tier results in more savings. When compared to cool tier, cold tier can save you an additional 64 percent on capacity costs (using the East US 2 pricing as an example; hot to cold tier savings are 80 percent). See detailed prices in Blob storage pricing and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 pricing.

Prices for read operations are higher on cooler access tiers and read patterns and file size distribution affect the cost-effectiveness. We recommend calculating the total cost based on both operation and capacity costs. The chart below shows how total cost differs on cool tier and cold tier based on how long you keep the data with the tier.

In the above scenario, the total cost estimation assumes 10 TiB data in total, 10 MiB blob size on average, reading once every month, and reading 10 percent of the total data each time. If you keep data for 30 days, the total cost is lower on the cool tier than the cold tier. If you keep data for 60 days or longer, cold tier is a more cost-effective option.

See detailed guidance on how to calculate total cost with access tiers in choose the most cost-efficient access tiers documentation.

Seamless experience with cold tier

Cold tier is as easy to use as hot tier and cool tier. REST APIs, SDKs, Azure Portal, Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure Storage Explorer have been extended to support cold tier. You can use the latest version of these clients to write, manage, and read your data directly from cold tier. The read latency is milliseconds on the cold tier.

Lifecycle management policy also supports automating tiering blobs to cold tier based on conditions including modified time, creation time, and last access time. See more in the Blob lifecycle policy.

The cold tier extends its support to both Blob Storage and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2. Locally redundant storage (LRS), Geo-redundant storage (GRS), Read-access Geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS), Zone-redundant storage (ZRS), Geo-zone-redundant storage (GZRS), and Read-access geo-zone-redundant storage (RA-GZRS) are all supported based on regional redundancy availability. See more in Azure Storage Data redundancy.

There are some features that are not yet compatible with cold tier. Check the latest cold tier limitations to ensure compatibility with your scenario.

Empowering customers and partners to maximize savings

Customers across industries can use cold tier to improve the cost efficiency of object storage on Azure without compromising read latency. Since we launched the preview for cold tier in May 2023, our customers and partners have used this capability on Azure to store data that is infrequently accessed or modified. Here are some quotes from customers and partners:

“AvePoint leverages multiple cloud storage types to provide cost-effective and intelligent tiering solutions for our customers. The inclusion of Azure Blob cold tier storage in our storage architecture is a significant enhancement that has the potential to boost our future return on investment. We are thrilled to witness the general availability of this service as it empowers us to provide even greater flexibility to our customers.” — George Wang, Chief Architect at AvePoint.

“Commvault is committed to ensuring customers can take advantage of latest advancements on Azure Blob Storage for their enterprise data protection & management needs. We are proud to support cold tier as a storage option with Commvault Complete and our Metallic SaaS offering later this year. Commvault’s unique compression and data packing approach, integrated with cold tier’s policy-based tiering and cost-efficient retention, empowers customers to efficiently defend and recover against ransomware, all while ensuring compliance and cost-efficient, on-demand access to data.” — David Ngo, Chief Technology Officer, Commvault.

“Embracing Azure Blob cold tier storage, MediaValet empowers customers with the power of instant retrieval, even for rarely accessed digital assets that are conventionally archived, eliminating workflow disruptions and administrative burdens. Customers can easily take advantage of cold tier storage in their existing workflows with our solution, experiencing no delays in retrieval and enjoying the same enterprise-class cloud storage solution.” — Jean Lozano, Chief Technology Officer at MediaValet.

“Nasuni has qualified and now fully supports the newly released Azure Blob Storage cold tier. Azure’s new cold tier, which supports online access to objects, will help joint customers generate significant cost savings while managing their files on Nasuni, which is built on the Azure Blob platform. Nasuni plans to leverage this cold tier of Blob Storage in pursuit of supporting customer migrations as part of their digital transformation journey.” — Russ Kennedy, Nasuni’s Chief Product Officer.

“Building on our existing storage integration options for Microsoft customers, Veeam is excited to announce support for Azure Blob cold tier storage in the next release of the Veeam Data Platform. Cold tier support provides instant access, while offering a cost-effective price point between other on-demand tiers like hot and cool, and the offline archive tier. As the importance of data protection and ransomware recovery continues to grow, we remain committed to providing our customers with robust solutions.” — Danny Allan, CTO at Veeam.

Getting started with cold tier

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