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Azure Files service, First Take: SMB file sharing for cloud VMs

18/06/2014 by


Cloud storage to use inside your cloud service: Azure Files represents another step towards blending the concepts of Platform and Infrastructure as a Service for a very pragmatic approach to cloud.

When you have a local network, you can have network storage — an SMB share on a file server, or a Network Attached Storage (NAS) box that everything on the network can access. Inside a cloud service, ironically, you don’t have that same concept of local network storage.

Data in Microsoft’s Azure can be inside a specific virtual machine that you can share with other virtual machines by doing some rather tedious setup — sharing and mounting the drive and writing scripts to find it and manage high availability. Alternatively, it’s in a platform service like a blob or table that doesn’t handle those everyday files you still need — for scripts, utilities, logos, log files, content that goes in your CMS and dozens of other things that would be just as handy to have when you’re working on Azure as when you’re remoting into your on-premise server.

The idea behind the new Azure Files storage service is to give you network-connected cloud storage that you can use seamlessly from inside a cloud service, blending the platform and infrastructure cloud concepts in a way that’s making Azure stand out. (The agent in every VM that lets you manage them via Puppet, Chef or PowerShell, without ever remoting into the individual machines to set that up, crosses the PaaS and IaaS streams in a similar way, giving you a platform service for managing and monitoring infrastructure VMs.)

Infrastructure as a Service providers make a very compelling argument for businesses to stop running their own data centers and simply purchase server capacity on-demand and scale up and down as needed. This is our deep dive on IaaS strategy and best practices

Azure Files is actually a feature requested by the team building the Azure Web Sites service, to stop them having to make their own file shares from which to copy files all the time, and it’s one of those ideas that seems blindingly obvious once someone has suggested it.

If you have an app that works with your on-premise file server, moving it to Azure means rewriting it, or setting up a file server in the cloud. Azure Files is perfect for that. You can also use it as a central location for settings you want to apply to distributed applications or multiple VMs, or as a place to store utilities and logs and other developer and test tools.

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Montash is a multi-award winning, global IT recruitment firm. Specialising in permanent and contract positions across mid-senior appointments which cover a wide range of industry sectors and IT functions, including:

ERP, BI & Data, Information Security, IT Architecture & Strategy, Scientific Technologies, Demand IT and Business Engagement, Digital and E-commerce, Infrastructure and Service Delivery, Project and Programme Delivery.

With offices based in London, Montash has completed assignments in over 30 countries and has appointed technical professionals from board level to senior and mid-management in permanent and contract roles.

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