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Introducing Azure Premium Blob Storage (limited public preview)

Posted on September 24, 2018

Principal Program Manager, Azure Storage

Today we are excited to announce the limited public preview of Azure Premium Blob Storage, which introduces a new 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.

Premium Blob Storage is ideal for workloads that require very fast access times. This includes most scenarios with a human in the loop, such as interactive video editing, static web content, online transactions, and more. It also works well for workloads that perform many relatively small transactions, such as capturing telemetry data, message passing, and data transformation.

Our internal testing shows that both average and 99th percentile server latency is significantly better than our Hot access tier, providing faster and more consistent response times for both read and write across a range of object sizes. Your application should be deployed to compute instances in the same Azure region as the storage account to realize low latency End-to-End.

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. 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.

Pricing

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.

Object tiering

At present data stored in Premium cannot be tiered to Hot, Cool or Archive access tiers. We are 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.

Limited preview region availability

Premium Blob Storage preview will be available in US East 2, US Central and US West regions.

How to sign-up

To enroll in limited public preview, you will need to submit a request to register this feature for your subscription. After your request is approved, you create a Premium Blob storage account (see below). As with most previews, this feature should not be used for production workloads until it reaches GA.

To submit a request, run the following PowerShell commands to login to your subscription and register the feature:

Connect-AzureRmAccount -SubscriptionId <subscriptionID>

Register-AzureRmProviderFeature -FeatureName premiumblob -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Storage

It should take 24-48 hours to process the request. You can check the status of your request by running the following Powershell command:

Get-AzureRmProviderFeature -FeatureName premiumblob -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Storage

How to create a storage account (Azure Portal)

Once your request has been approved, you can create block blob storage accounts. To create a block blob storage account using the Azure Portal navigate to the ‘Create storage account’ blade and fill it in:

  • In ‘Location’ choose one of the supported regions
  • In ‘Performance’ choose Premium
  • In ‘Account Kind’ choose Block Blob Storage (preview)

Example below:

Once you have created the account, you can manage the Premium Blob Storage account, including generating SAS tokes, review metrics, and more.

Valid regions are: East US 2, Central US, West US, and North Europe. 

How to create a storage account (PowerShell)

Once your request has been approved, you can create block blob storage accounts.

To create a block blob account, you must first install the PowerShell AzureRm.Storage preview module.

Step 1: Ensure that you have the latest version of PowerShellGet installed

Install-Module PowerShellGet –Repository PSGallery –Force

Step 2:  Open a new PowerShell console and install AzureRm.Storage module

Install-Module AzureRm.Storage –Repository PSGallery -RequiredVersion 6.0.0-preview –AllowPrerelease –AllowClobber –Force

Step 3: Open a new PowerShell console and login with your Azure account

Login-AzureRMAccount

Note: If you have an AzureRm.Storage module installed with a higher version, you need to manually import the AzureRm.Storage preview module:

Import-Module AzureRM.Storage -RequiredVersion 6.0.0

Once the PowerShell preview module is in place you can create a block blob storage account:

New-AzureRmStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <resource group> -Name <accountname> -Location <region> -Kind "BlockBlobStorage" -SkuName "Premium_LRS"

Valid regions are: eastus2, centralus, and westus

How to create a storage account (Azure CLI)

Once your request has been approved, you can create block blob storage accounts.

To create a block blob account, you must first install Azure CLI v. 2.0.46 or higher, then

Step 1: Login to your subscription

az login

Step 2: Add the storage-preview extension

az extension add -n storage-preview

Step 3:  Create storage account

az storage account create --location <location> --name <accountname> --resource-group <resource-group> --kind "BlockBlobStorage" --sku "Premium_LRS"

Valid regions are: eastus2, centralus, and westus

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback at premiumblobfeedback@microsoft.com.

Conclusion

We are very excited about being able to deliver Azure Blob Storage with low and consistent latency with Premium Blob Storage and look forward to hearing your feedback. Also, feel free to follow my Twitter for more updates.

Cheers,

Claus