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ETL Data in Microsoft Azure Blob Storage

Javeria Rahim

Associate Manager SEO

April 18th, 2024

The rise in unstructured data has led to the increased usage of object storage, a highly scalable, flexible, and secure option ideal for holding vast volumes of structured and unstructured data. With Azure, Microsoft has emerged as one of the key players in this rapidly expanding market. Microsoft’s Azure object storage or Azure blob storage, as it is popularly known, can effortlessly tackle the challenge of explosion in data volume and variety. According to Enlyft, 47,039 companies have already adopted Blob storage in their data architecture.

Working with Microsoft Azure Blob Storage

Cloud storage offers various benefits to an organization. Azure data storage, particularly is a cost-effective way of storing petabytes of data. With its massive scalability and advanced security features, Azure Blob storage is optimized for archiving, backing up, or just storing data to be analyzed later by downstream analytics tools. Azure blob storage cost and its durability also make it a perfect support for AI and machine learning projects.

Azure Blob storage has a simple structure; each storage account can have multiple containers and within each Azure storage container, there can be multiple blobs. There are three types of blobs: Block blobs, append blobs, and page blobs. Block blobs are used for storing texts or large videos and images, append blobs are used for storing log data while page blobs are meant for disks like Azure SQL.

Azure Blob storage stucture

What makes Azure Blob storage appealing is its access tiers that allow users to manage data in a cost-effective manner. These access tiers are divided according to what type of data is stored in them and how often it is accessed.

  1. Azure Hot Storage: Hot storage is an online tier meant for data that is accessed frequently. This access tier has high storage costs but low access costs.
  2. Azure Cold Storage: This online access tier is ideal for data that is not used frequently. This tier has low storage costs but high access costs.
  3. Azure Archive Storage: It is an offline tier that can be used to store data that is rarely used and there are no latency requirements

Integrating Azure Blob Storage in Data Architecture

When a company decides to incorporate the cloud in its data infrastructure, it is usually to realize operational and cost efficiencies. However, integrating the cloud in data pipelines can sometimes be overwhelming with lots of coding involved, which undermines the main objective of migration.

A code-free data integration tool such as Astera makes it easier to integrate cloud platforms in enterprise architecture. Astera comes with a built-in connector for Azure Blob Storage as source and destination, so all you need to do is drag and drop objects to build a data pipeline with Azure data storage.

Azure Blob Storage and Legacy Modernization

Legacy modernization with Azure blob storage

Many organizations are moving towards cloud storage because legacy systems no longer have the capacity to cope with drastic changes in data structures to realize operational efficiencies, cost savings, and data security and governance.

Azure Blob storage can effortlessly handle the needs of modern-day businesses. Its cost-efficient tiers are particularly useful for organizations that need to store and manage long-term data.

However, moving to the cloud comes with its own set of challenges. On-premises data centers are often built over years and critical data is scattered around the organization, so companies often end up spending their modernization budget and time on tackling data challenges without achieving much success.

A successful transition hence requires a coherent strategy and the right Azure ETL tool that eliminates the complexity and cost of the process.

Integrating Azure Blob Storage with On-Premises Data Centers

Azure Blob storage is often used as a part of a hybrid storage structure whereby it extends on-premises data center capabilities to store historical data in a cost-efficient manner.

Organizations mostly use cloud storage to store copious amounts of raw and unstructured data such as historical customer shopping behavior. This historical data can be joined with data stored on-premises and sent to a data warehouse for further analysis to enhance customer experience.

Such situations need a solution that can seamlessly extract data from all on-premises sources, integrate it with cloud data, and load it into a destination.

Astera Centerprise can facilitate such scenarios. Its user-friendly interface allows users to instantly map data flows and orchestrate data movement across different platforms. Additionally, the built-in connectors allow users to easily ingest data from multiple disparate sources, transform it using sophisticated built-in transformations, and load it into their desired destination without any hassle.

Populating Microsoft Azure SQL Database from Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob often acts as a storage layer where data is imported from various sources and then channeled to a repository for querying and analysis since Azure Blob doesn’t come with a querying language. Azure SQL Database is one of the popular destinations in such cases.

While data can be stored on Azure SQL database, its size swells with copious amounts of data, reducing its efficiency and increasing its cost. Azure Blob, on the other hand, is optimized for bulk storage, and it is more cost-efficient to scale Azure Blob storage than Azure SQL database.

Built-in Azure Blob storage and Azure SQL Database connectors in Astera Centerprise make it easier to quickly load a large amount of data into Azure SQL with just a drag and drop. You can then leverage the job scheduler to automate the data pipeline and continuously update the database.

Centerprise also supports CDC functionality in the Azure SQL database. Change Data Capture (CDC) continuously monitors any changes in data structures and updates it. CDC allows low latency data transfer for analytics. It is better than batch replication as it continuously sends updates to analysis destinations without causing any disruptions in production workloads.

Update your data infrastructure with Azure Blob Storage and Astera

Azure Blob can prove to be quite useful when it comes to cost-effective storage. Object storage allows an organization to effectively manage its data and scale without hassle. However, it is imperative to complement it with an ETL tool that is easy to use and can automate most tasks.

Download Astera Centerprise today and seamlessly integrate Azure Blob Storage in your data pipelines.

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