Microsoft Azure Block Storage Review

It is easy to use and has significantly reduced our costs

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a storage backend for our analytical use cases and we do modeling in the Azure Databricks environment. We store huge chunks of data in terms of terabytes. We use this data to gain insights into our modeling platform. We find it cheaper than storing it on-premise. And it does not require infrastructure maintenance.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved my organization by reducing costs by 90%. There's still no infrastructure engineering involved for the maintenance and it's easy to use.

What is most valuable?

The tier feature in V2 is the most valuable feature of this solution. It enables you to move your storage from hot tier to cold tier into archive tier.

That is one of the features I liked it better than a version V1 because V1did not have this feature.version. Because of it, we can save costs on storage.

What needs improvement?

There is a folder inside the block storage. I am not able to delete the folder completely from the portal. I need to go delete the file inside and then I will be able to delete the folders.

We don't delete the other tools from the folder directly. There's no folder deletion option in Azure Block Storage. It would be nice if they could update this. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Block Storage for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any problems with stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a pretty simple solution and it scales up automatically when the data size goes up. It scales up and the costs increase accordingly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We did the deployment ourselves. They have good online documentation.  Producing the storage account took about 10 minutes max. The overall configuration took maybe 10 minutes. To make it work properly took around one hour.

It only took one person to deploy it.

Most of the users use it as the default storage. We have close to 1,000 users using this solution.  

It requires one person per team to maintain it. so maybe one person per team, it would be a maximum of a hundred people. 

It's used across the organization by the technology team and the data science team. We're not looking to expand the usage because I feel that at least this part of the solution has reached the desired audience.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is that it has reduced our costs by 90%.

The amount for storage we used to pay $1,000 per month, now we only pay around $10.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For the first 50DB, they cost around $50. 

It's an open solution for everybody. Anybody can go to the Microsoft website and they can get the pricing for it. But the first 50GB of data is a default rate and then it increases for the next 500GB or something like that.

It is a pay as you go solution. The more you use, the more you pay. That's normally how you pay for any cloud solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated Amazon, AWS, Microsoft, and Google cloud.

What other advice do I have?

You will need high-speed bandwidth internet and a contact center for Microsoft for billing purposes. It is kind of a drag and drop and it is pretty simple to use. There is a small learning curve. 

If you create a folder at least one sample file has to be there. So sometimes it becomes irrelevant because unnecessarily I put a normal dummy file. And then from tomorrow onwards when the data starts doing it I delete the dummy file when the actual data is there. I find that pretty cumbersome. In the next release, I would like for them to update this.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is that Microsoft solutions are easy to use. 

I would rate it a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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