Over this weekend, we released a new version of Cloud Portam. In the new version, we included support for managing “Premium” and “Zone-Redundant” Storage (ZRS) accounts. This blog post talks about them. To learn more about these types of storage accounts, please visit these links: Azure Storage Redundancy Options and Premium Storage: High-Performance Storage for Azure Virtual Machine Workloads.

Differences

There are some substantial differences between these storage accounts and regular storage accounts. This section talks about some of the differences:

Premium Storage v/s Regular Storage Accounts

  • Premium Storage accounts don’t support Table, Queue and File service. Only Blob service is supported.
  • Even in Blob service, only Page blobs are supported in Premium Storage. Block blobs are not supported.
  • Service properties are not supported in Premium Storage. What that means is that for them, you can’t configure CORS rules or Storage Analytics.
  • In Premium Storage accounts, blob container’s ACL can only be “Private”. You can’t set a blob container’s ACL to “Blob” or “Container”.

Zone-Redundant Storage (ZRS) v/s Regular Storage Accounts

  • ZRS accounts don’t support Table, Queue and File service. Only Blob service is supported.
  • Even in Blob service, only Block blobs are supported in ZRS accounts. Page blobs are not supported.
  • CORS rules are supported in ZRS accounts.
  • Storage analytics is not supported in ZRS accounts.

 

The reason we mention these changes is because we had to make some changes in the way you would add/edit storage account to accommodate these features. We will talk about these changes in the next section.

Changes to Add Storage Account

As you know, there are two ways by which you can add storage accounts in Cloud Portam – Adding them individually or adding them using a publish profile file.

If you’re adding a storage account individually using account name and key, we have added an extra dropdown for storage account type. This was needed because just by using your account name and key, we can’t find out the type of storage account. So what you have to do is find out the account type from Azure Portal and select appropriate option as shown in the screenshot below.

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If you’re adding storage accounts using a publish profile file, you don’t have to do anything extra. The application will automatically find out the storage account type using Azure Service Management API.

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Other than this, you don’t have to do anything special as far as adding storage accounts is concerned. The application will take care of the rest.

Note: If you’re an existing user of Cloud Portam, we have taken the liberty of setting up the storage account’s type in our database. If you have indicated that the storage account is able to read from secondary geo-location, we have changed the account type in our database as “Read Access Geo-Redundant Storage (RAGRS)”. For all other storage accounts, we have changed the account type to “Locally Redundant Storage (LRS)” in our database.

Storage Account Dashboard

Based on the account type you selected, you will be presented with a different view.

Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) or Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS) Account

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Read Access Geo-Redundant Storage (RAGRS) Account

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Zone-Redundant Storage (ZRS) Account

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Premium Storage Account

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Blob Container Management Functionality

There’s not many changes as far as blob container management functionality is concerned. A few things that we have changed are:

  • For Premium Storage accounts, when adding a new storage account you will not see a dropdown for container’s ACL. This is because a blob container in a Premium Storage account can only have “Private” ACL.
  • For Premium Storage accounts, in the permissions popup you can’t change the container’s ACL again because of the same reason mentioned above.
  • For Premium Storage accounts, we have removed the functionality to copy container. Please note that you can still copy one or more blobs there but for that you will need to go to blobs management screen.
  • For Premium Storage accounts, we have removed the functionality to view container size. Please note that you can still see occupied bytes size for an individual page blob in the blobs management screen.
  • For ZRS accounts, there is no change in functionality as far as managing blob containers is concerned.

Blobs Management Functionality

From a UI perspective there are not many changes as far as blob management functionality is concerned. A few things we do want to mention though:

  • Since Premium Storage account don’t support CORS, the requests to perform operations on blobs are routed through our servers. For other account types, the browser directly talks to your storage account for performing operations on blobs as CORS is supported for these account types.
  • For Premium Storage account, blobs are displayed as is instead of displaying them in folder hierarchy. Considering the fact that there will be very few blobs per container in a Premium Storage account, we thought that it would be all right to do so.

Upload Functionality

There have been some changes in the upload functionality.

  • For Premium Storage accounts, you can’t upload blobs from Cloud Portam to your storage account. This was done because Premium Storage accounts don’t support CORS and we don’t want to intercept the upload process. However we have included some sample commands for AzCopy, Azure PowerShell Cmdlets and Azure Cross Platform CLI tools that you can use to upload VHDs from your local computer to your blob storage directly.

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  • As ZRS Storage accounts only support block blobs, the dropdown for choosing the blob type will be disabled and you can’t change that. Event if you’re uploading a VHD, it will get saved as block blob.

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Auto Start Upload

In the previous versions, Cloud Portam automatically start uploading the files as soon as you add them to upload queue. However, there will be certain scenarios where you don’t want to start uploading the files immediately. May be you would want to set the blob properties or metadata or even change blob’s type (block to page etc.) or add files from different folders before the upload begins.

In this version we’re including this functionality so that you can instruct Cloud Portam to not start upload process automatically. To do so, when the upload screen loads simply click/press on “Upload Settings” button in the bottom button bar and uncheck the box which reads “Automatically start uploading files”. Then when you add the files, the upload will not start and you would need to click/press “Start Upload” button to start the upload process.

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Please note that the default behavior is to start uploading the files automatically as soon as they are added to the upload queue.

Closing

As you can see we’re constantly investing in making the product more and more useful. Do try out Cloud Portam and these features and let us know what you think. If you think, we can improve it in any way, please feel free to share your thoughts. The link to our website is http://www.cloudportam.com.