Flexible, Secure Cloud Storage for All Your Data Needs (Microsoft Azure) | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh
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Flexible, Secure Cloud Storage for All Your Data Needs (Microsoft Azure)

Pitt Information Technology offers a wealth of enterprise cloud storage options to University departments, faculty, staff, and researchers through Azure, Microsoft's enterprise cloud computing solution.

How Might You Use Azure Storage?

Azure is reliable, customizable, scalable, and redundant. It is ideal if you want to:

  • Archive Data Inexpensively: Do you have data that is infrequently accessed that you need to store for long periods of time? Secure, redundant archival storage is available through Azure.
  • Provide Shared File Storage without the Need for a Server: Store all of your data securely and redundantly in the cloud.
  • Store and Compute with Data: Take advantage of an environment with protections for data privacy, legal/regulatory, and contractual compliance.
  • Other uses for Azure...

Storage Options

Blob Storage

Blob storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data. Blob storage is scalable, and you pay only for what you use. You can choose from among three storage tiers: Hot for frequently accessed data, Cool for infrequently accessed data, and Archive for rarely accessed data.

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Data Lake Storage

Azure Data Lake Storage is a highly scalable and cost-effective solution for big data analytics. It allows you to easily manage massive amounts of data. It is built on Azure Blob storage, but it also adds a hierarchical namespace. The hierarchical namespace organizes objects/files into a hierarchy of directories for efficient data access.

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Azure Files

Azure Files offers fully managed file shares in the cloud that are accessible via the industry-standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. You can mount Azure file shares concurrently on cloud or on-premises deployments of Windows, Linux, and macOS. You also can cache Azure file shares on Windows Server machines by using Azure File Sync for fast access close to where the data is used.

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Storage Tiers

Azure provides different storage tiers for your data depending upon how frequently you plan to access it:

Tier

Best Use

Cost Comparison

Special Considerations

Hot

Frequently accessed data

Most expensive to store; least expensive to retrieve

 

Cold

Infrequently accessed data

Less expensive to store; slightly more expensive to retrieve

Penalties apply for data accessed before 30 days

Archival

Data that does not need to be accessed for at least six months

Least expensive to store; most expensive to retrieve

Penalties apply for data accessed before 180 days, and data retrieve could take up to 15 hours

Blob storage also provides data lifecycle management, which means you can transition blobs to a cooler storage tier (hot to cool, hot to archive, or cool to archive) to optimize for performance and cost. You can even set up policies to automatically transition data between different tiers.

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Redundancy Options

Azure offers six different redundancy options: Locally redundant storage (LRS), Zone-redundant storage (ZRS), Geo-redundant storage (GRS), Read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS), Geo-zone-redundant storage (GZRS), and Read-access geo-zone-redundant storage (RA-GZRS).

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Sample Pricing Per TB

Storage Type

Redundancy

Access Tier

Monthly Cost per TB

Annual Cost per TB

Blob/Data Lake

LRS

Hot

Cool

Archival

$16

$9

$2

$198

$108

$26

Blob/Data Lake

ZRS

Hot

Cool

$21

$11

$248

$134

Blob/Data Lake

GRS

Hot

Cool

$33

$18

$416

$236

Azure Files

LRS

ZRS

GRS

Hot

Hot

Hot

$67

$79

$129

$804

$946

$1,545

Get Started

Ready to take advantage of enterprise cloud storage? Contact the 24/7 IT Help Desk. We'll follow up with the information you need to get started right away. We can even help you determine what storage solutions best meet your unique needs.