How to Deploy Blob Storage, Containers
If you are creating a new website where visitors need to store things like pictures or videos, how do you do that? Where do you keep your customer’s information? Of course, you could store binary data in a database, but that isn’t the best option. Instead, you could opt for using cloud storage.
One of the many cloud storage providers is Microsoft’s Azure platform. Azure includes a service called blob storage specifically for this purpose. So, today we are going to walk through how you create blob containers in Azure.
What is a Blob?
Before we discuss creating blob storage containers in Azure, we need to know what a blob is. If you are new to Azure, the term ‘blob’ might be confusing. So, let’s discuss what a blob is. A blob is a binary object or text object. Otherwise, it’s a file. So instead of being called ‘file storage,’ Azure calls it ‘blob storage.’
Microsoft does have things called file storage containers, too. The big difference is that blob storage is for unstructured data. It also doesn’t discriminate against what kind of files can be saved to it. So, you could save videos, images, CSV files, etc. to a blob storage container, and none of those files are associated with anything else.
A blob storage container in Azure is nothing more than a ‘container’ where you can store random files, much like the way you use that junk drawer in your kitchen to keep random things. Unlike your junk drawer, though, blob storage containers can be accessed programmatically and access controlled.
How to Create Blob Containers in Azure
Creating blob storage containers in Azure is not a complicated process. There are numerous ways that you can create blob storage containers in Azure, too. For example, you could create storage containers programmatically. This is useful in an automated environment. We will create a blob storage container through the Azure web dashboard for this article’s purpose, though.
Go ahead and log in to your Azure account through the Azure web portal. Once logged into your account, click on ‘Storage Accounts’ from the left-hand navigation page. Then click on the ‘Add’ button at the top of the Storage Accounts page. We are going to create a new Storage Account.
For those of you more familiar with AWS, a Storage Account is like an AWS S3 bucket.
Next, we are going to configure the information for that new Storage Account. After clicking the ‘Add' button, Azure will direct you to a 'Create Storage Account' page. This page has four tabs with settings across the top of it:
Review & Create
On the 'Basics' tab, select your Subscription type and Resource Group. Most people will choose the 'Pay-as-you-go' subscription. If you do not have any resource groups created, click the 'Create New' link under the Resource Group drop-down box to create a new resource group.
Next, give your new storage account a name under the Storage Account Name field. Then select your location for your Storage Account.
Selecting the location of your storage account will depend on one of two things. First, you will typically want your storage account to be as close to you as or your customers or users as possible. Eliminating as much geographical area between you and your storage container (or your customers and users and your storage container) can help reduce latency when using that container.
The rest of the settings on the Basic tab are optional. If you need higher speed storage, consider changing the Performance parameter on this page to Premium. The Account Kind defaults to StorageV2. This storage model will work for blob files, so keep the default settings unless you need to change your storage account type.
You can also configure more advanced settings and tags for your new storage account, but for the purposes of this article, we are going to skip those steps. They are not needed for creating a new storage account in Azure. So, click on the Review and Create button at the bottom of the Basic tab and click on Create.
After a short bit, your new storage account will be created. Then, Azure will list that new storage account in your Azure dashboard after reviewing changes to your Azure account (making the new storage account). So go ahead and click on that new storage account.
In your new storage account dashboard, you will see options for blobs, files, etc.… Choose blobs. Then click on the Container button at the top of the dashboard page.
Azure has two required options that need to be configured for your new container:
Name your container whatever you would like. Make sure to follow Azure's naming conventions. Likewise, choose how much access you want to allow to your container.
There are a couple of notes you need to consider when choosing your access level. 'Private' is self-explanatory. If you choose 'Private,' no one will be able to access your storage container. If you need others to access your data, you must select either 'Blob' or 'Container.'
The difference between 'Blob' or 'Container' is how granular your permissions are. For example, with the 'Blob' option, others can publicly access specific blobs individually. On the other hand, the 'Container' option lets anyone browse through the container itself along with its contents.
Congratulations! You just created a blob storage container in Azure! Making changes to that container or uploading blobs to it is easy. Now that your blob storage container has been created click on it in the Azure web dashboard. At the top of the container, you will see multiple buttons. The two you need to pay attention to are the 'Upload' and 'Change Access Level' buttons.
The Upload button will let you upload blobs, or files, to your blob storage bucket. The Change Access Level button will allow you to change your container's access privileges, or more specifically, how others can access and use your blob storage container.
An Overview of How to Deploy Blob Containers, Storage [Video]
In this video, Knox Hutchinson covers how to deploy blob storage in conjunction with an Azure back end. You'll see a step-by-step demonstration of how to create a storage account, configure the blog storage, and create containers. Along the way, Knox will highlight several critical settings you should pay attention to when configuring your storage.
Azure is an excellent resource for cloud storage. It can be used for all sorts of purposes. If you would like to learn other ways to use Azure for data storage, sharing data, and securing data, consider doing an entire Azure storage solutions training course.
Creating a blob container in Azure is easy. First, log in to your Azure web dashboard. Then navigate to Storage Accounts with the left-hand navigation bar. If you have a storage account that you would like to add your blob container to, go ahead and select that account from the Storage Accounts page. Otherwise, create a new storage account.
After creating a new storage account or selecting an existing storage account, use the option to create a new storage container. Make sure to give your storage container a meaningful name. Also, select the appropriate access level for your container. You can change the access level later if need be from the container's configuration page.