Azure Archive Storage Preview

A first look at Azure Archive

What is Azure Archive Storage?

To keep up the pace with Amazon and Google, Microsoft has announced the preview of its own Azure Archive Blob Storage as part of their Azure cloud storage offering. Complementing its Hot and Cool storage offerings, Azure Archive Storage rounds out Azure’s tiered storage with a low-cost, long-term storage option for rarely-accessed data.

The cold storage offering is intended to provide customers with an option for data that is required to be retained for an extended duration of time, while minimizing the associated cost of doing so.

Azure Archive Storage is similar in nature to its counterparts at Amazon and Google, but does have some unique characteristics:

  • Redundancy Options – Offering both locally-redundant and geographically-redundant archive services, Azure Archive Storage provides increased levels of availability and durability for those customers requiring it.
  • Optimized for BLOBs – Because access to, and retrieval of, data will cost more from an archive, pricing is designed with Binary Large OBjects (BLOBs) in mind. Lots of little files (think KBs) will cost your organization a fortune (literally as high as 50 times the cost) to recover.
  • Designed for long-term – Like Google Coldline and Amazon Glacier (which require a minimum of 90 days of data retention), it’s likely Azure Archive will have a similar data retention requirement, complete with early deletion fees.
  • Intended for rarely accessed data – Microsoft’s assumption with cold data is that you need to keep it for a certain retention period, and are more likely to never actually retrieve it. The cost of long-term retention with Azure Archive (7 years, for example) will likely be a fraction of the cost of holding the same data in Hot storage. Likewise, retrieval costs of data, should you need it, should also be a fraction of the cost of Hot storage.
  • Technically, Inaccessible – Data stored in Azure Archive cannot be read, copied, overwritten, modified, or have snapshots taken of it. The data in this storage tier can be queried for properties and metadata, as well as can be moved to another storage tier, but no direct access is possible.
  • BLOB-level tiering – data can be moved between Azure’s hot, cool, and cold tiers at the BLOB-level without requiring data needing to be moved.

To put this storage option in perspective with regard to all three of Azure’s storage tiers, think of it this way:

Storage Pricing Access Pricing Retrieval Speed
Hot High Low High
Cool Medium Medium Medium
Archive Low High Low

Azure Archive Storage Pricing

During the preview phase Microsoft made Azure Archive Storage avaliable only to East US2 region. As also noted, preview prices will be increased with general availability of Azure Archive.

Hot Cool Archive(preview)
Storage Price( 1Gb / month ) $0.0184 $0.01 $0.0018
Write Operations (per 10,000) $0.05 $0.10 $0.30
Read Operations (per 10,000) $0.004 $0.01 $0.15
Data Retrieval (per GB) Free $0.01 $0.0015

Taking Advantage of Azure Archive Storage

Assuming you’re already either on, or are considering, Azure storage for backups, the use of Azure Archive is something you can leverage as part of a managed storage strategy, where backup data can be initially backed up to Hot storage, and migrated (based on desired retention times and recovery needs) to Cool and Archive storage.

CloudBerry Backup fully supports the Azure Archive Storage functionality, so don't hesitate trying it out!