What is Azure Files?
Azure Files is a fully managed file share(s) in the cloud. This can be used to either extend your on-premises file server or to replace it.
It is what is called a serverless Azure File share, meaning that there is no need for a server to be provisioned in Azure and the File Share is just a resource sitting in a Storage account.
This can be extremely useful when either storage space is nearing capacity on your on-premises storage device or you want to move your data in full up into the cloud.
If the data you are wanting to move it quite large, e.g. 5TB or above then you can use another Azure resource called Azure Data Box, which allows the client to copy their data locally onto this Data Box and then ship it to the Azure Datacentre to be uploaded to your designated file share( to be discussed in a future blog).
Why is Azure Files useful?
- To replace or supplement on-premises file servers, as mentioned above.
- “Lift and Shift” applications that require a file share located in Azure to work with.
- To simplify cloud development, i.e. application configuration files can be stored centrally or you can store diagnostic logs for all support staff to view.
Azure Files Key Benefits
Shared access – supports both SMB (Server Message Block) and NFS (Network File System) protocols.
Fully managed – no need for any server hardware or OS configuration or maintenance, i.e. replacing hard drives or patching the Windows operating system.
Scripting and tooling – ability to use the Azure Portal to create and manage your Azure Files easily.
Resiliency – As with most Azure resources there are very high SLAs (service level agreements) that have to be adhered to, which means that your resources are available 95-99% of the time, unlike waking up to a hardware issue on your on-premises device and needing to wait for parts to be delivered and changed out.
Azure File Sync server
You can also use one of your on-premises server to act as an Azure File sync server, which can be used to synchronise and upload the files that you want to move up to your cloud storage space.
This is done by installing an agent on the server and registering it to connect to the Azure File Share you have setup.
This server then acts as a local cache for files uploaded to this server and for copying up into your cloud storage.