Affordable Cloud Storage from Azure

February 20, 2018

Need for affordable storage

In today’s world, every industry has been experiencing exponential growth of their data, and most of it is rarely accessed, but still has to be retained for extended periods to meet either business continuity or compliance requirements. A few examples of such data are employee data, medical records, customer information, financial records, backups, etc.  Further, AI and data analytics are unlocking value from data that might have been previously discarded, which further drives the need to retain the data for more extended periods in a scalable and cost-effective manner.  This where Microsoft Azure cloud storage enters the picture.

Hot, Cool & Archive storage tier

Before diving more into Azure Archive blob storage, let’s know the different kinds of blob storage offering available.

Hot Storage tier is optimized for storing data that is frequently accessed, data that is actively used or expected to be repeatedly used.

Cool Storage tier is optimized for storing data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days. These include data like short-term backup, disaster recovery datasets, and old media not viewed frequently, but expected to be available immediately.

Archive Storage tier is optimized for storing data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days with flexible latency requirements (on the order of hours).  Data like long-term backup, archival, raw media files after transcoding into other formats, compliance data like security camera footage, old X-Rays/MRIs, audio recording, and customer call transcripts fall into this category.

Parameters Hot storage tier Cool storage tier Archive storage tier
Availability 99.90% 99% N/A
Availability (RA-GRS reads) 99.99% 99.90% N/A
Usage charges Higher storage costs, lower access and transaction costs Lower storage costs, higher access and transaction costs Lowest storage costs, highest access and transaction costs
Minimum object size N/A N/A N/A
Minimum storage duration N/A 30 days (GPv2 only) 180 days
Latency (Time to first byte) milliseconds milliseconds < 15 Hrs

Additional term essential

Blob rehydration:  To read the data in the archive tier, one has to move this to either hot or cool. This process is known as rehydration, and it can take up to 15 hours to complete. For optimal performance of rehydration, it is recommended to have large blob sizes. Archive Status blob property indicates whether the rehydration is in process or is complete. When rehydration is in progress, Archive Status blob property shows either “rehydrate-pending-to-hot” or “rehydrate-pending-to-cool.” When rehydration is complete, the Access Tier blob property changes to hot or cool tier.

Characteristics of archive storage

Below are some of the attributes of Archive Blob storage, which may help to decide on utilization. Archive tier is the lowest priced storage offering for storing data, which is rarely accessed, hence cost-effective.

  • Users will be using the same familiar operation on objects in the Archive tier as on objects in Hot or Cool tiers, which helps users to quickly and seamlessly integrate the archive tier into the applications.
  • Archive tier is designed to offer the same high durability that is provided by the Azure storage.
  • Archive tier automatically encrypts data at rest using 256-bit AES encryption, one of the dominant block ciphers available.
  • Archive tier storage is available in 14 regions – North Central US, South Central US, East US, West US, East US 2, Central US, West US 2, West Central US, North Europe, West Europe, Korea Central, Korea South, Central India, and South India, which gives it a global reach. Archive storage is available on both new and existing Blob storage.


How does $0.002 per GB per month sound? Microsoft has announced just that. You just need to dish out $2 per month for 1000 GB of Archive blob storage. With this launch, organizations can reduce their storage costs by storing their rarely accessed data into Archive tier.


Created By:  PreludeSys .Net CoE

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