Setting Up Microsoft Azure Blob Storage

This document provides instructions on how to configure a Microsoft Azure Blob Object Store for use with Panzura Freedom Filer

About this Document

See Deploying the Panzura Freedom Filer as a Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine document for information on deploying the Filer as an Azure Virtual Machine.

Panzura strongly recommends that you complete the Blob Object Store configuration in Azure before deploying your Panzura filer. By doing so you will be prepared to provide the needed cloud storage provider information when deploying your filer.

Azure Blob storage background

Azure Blob storage is Microsoft's object storage solution for the cloud. Blob storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data. Unstructured data is data that does not adhere to a particular data model or definition, such as text or binary data. 

Blob storage offers three types of resources:

• The storage account.

• A container in the storage account

• A blob in a container

This document will walk you through setting up a storage account and a container for use for Panzura Freedom Filer.

Accessing the Microsoft Azure Portal

1. Open a browser and go to: https://portal.azure.com

2. If you don’t yet have an account, click “Use another account” and follow instructions to create a new account.

3. If you do already have an account, login with your credentials and you will be taken to the Microsoft Azure portal.

 

Creating a Storage account

1. Click on the “Storage accounts” icon:

2. Here, you will see a listing of Storage accounts that have been previously created. Click “Add” to add a new storage account:

3. Create storage account - Basics:

a. Subscription: At this time, only the “Pay-As-You-Go” Option is available.

b. Resource Group: Choose an existing Resource Group or create a new one.

c. Storage account name: enter a unique name for the Storage account.

d. Location: Choose a location for this Storage account instance. Panzura supports all regions.

e. Performance: Standard storage accounts are backed by magnetic drives and provide the lowest cost per GB. They're best for applications that require bulk storage or where data is accessed infrequently. Premium storage accounts are backed by solid state drives and offer consistent, low latency performance. They can only be used with Azure virtual machine disks, and are best for I/O-intensive applications, like databases. Additionally, virtual machines that use Premium storage for all disks qualify for a 99.9% SLA, even when running outside of an availability set. This setting can't be changed after the storage account is created. Panzura supports either choice.

f. Account kind: The default choice is Storage V2. Other options are legacy options only.

g. Replication: Panzura supports each option available. Choose the one that makes sense for you:

h. Access tier (default): The account Access Tier is the default tier that is inferred by any blob without an explicitly set tier. The Hot Access Tier is ideal for frequently accessed data, and the Cool Access Tier is ideal for infrequently accessed data. The Archive Access Tier can only be set at the blob level and not on the account.

• The Hot access tier, which is optimized for frequent access of objects in the storage account. Accessing data in the hot tier is most cost-effective, while storage costs are higher. New storage accounts are created in the hot tier by default.

• The Cool access tier, which is optimized for storing large amounts of data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days. Storing data in the cool tier is more cost-effective, but accessing that data may be more expensive than accessing data in the hot tier.

• The Archive tier, which is available only for individual block blobs. The archive tier is optimized for data that can tolerate several hours of retrieval latency and will remain in the Archive tier for at least 180 days. The archive tier is the most cost-effective option for storing data, but accessing that data is more expensive than accessing data in the hot or cool tiers.

i. Click the button: “Next: Networking >”

4. Create storage account: Networking page

a. Choose the Connectivity method that applies to you.

b. Click the button: “Next : Advanced >”

5. Create storage account: Advanced page

a. Security – Secure transfer required: Leave this on default “Enabled”

b. Azure Files – Large File Shares: Note the requirements for Large file shares:

c. Data protection – Blob soft delete: You may choose to enable or disable this option.

d. Data Lake Storage Gen2 – Hierarchical namespace: Leave this on default “Disabled”.

e. Click the button: “Next : Tags >”

6. Create storage account – Tags page

a. Create tags as needed for your Storage account.

b. Click the button: “Next : Review and create >”

7. Create storage account – Review and create page

a. Microsoft will validate your options. If your storage account passes this validation, you should see a green bar indicating “Validation passed”.

b. Review your options and click the button “Create”.

8. As Microsoft Azure deploys your resources, you will see this screen:

9. You will be notified once deployment of your storage account is complete: a. Click on the button “Go to resource”.

10. View your storage account:

Creating a Container

Now that your storage account is created, you can now create an Azure Blob Container

  1. On your Storage account Overview page, click on the “Containers” tile.
  2. On the Containers page, click on “+ Container”.
  3. On the “New container page:
    1. Name: Enter your container name
    2. Public access level: Choose “Private”
    3. Click “OK”
  4. You will see the Container listed in the Containers page of your Storage account.
  5. If you click on your Container, you will see all Blobs and virtual paths in the Container.
  6. Setup of Panzura Freedom Filers will require the following information:
    1. Storage account name
    2. Container name
    3. Access key (1)
      1. From the Containers page, under the “Settings” section, click on “Access keys”.
      2. Take note of the access keys provided by Azure to access your Containers. Panzura Freedom Filers will only require one key (either key1 or key2). However, please be aware of your company’s key management policies when selecting a key.