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Windows Azure Blob Storage System provides Reliable and Flexible Backup Features for SQL Server

Mar 26 2014 12:00AM by adamgorge   

When it comes to saving data in a protected manner, you usually prefer implementing a backup technique that is reliable as well as easy to execute, especially when the data is crucial and you must keep it away from factors like corruption, virus/malware attack, or even from intruders. Well, the significance of data is a subject to the type of data, which, in corporate, is given the top priority.

In corporate, data of each employee as well as every single client is stored at a centralized database server in order to make data transaction easy and quick. This also makes the data accessible to each authorized user. When it comes to choosing a database server, SQL Server is preferred the most to store and manage huge amount of data securely. Moreover, the crucial aspect about data is taking periodical backup, which requires implementing secure and reliable backup strategies. In this regard, you might either prefer the obsolete backup approach or switch to a modern technique that requires extra overhead. Let me introduce you to Windows Azure Blob Storage Service for data backup and restore.

Windows Azure Blob Storage Service

When we are talking about massive amount of data, the storage technique you are going to implement must be flexible and reliable. Windows Azure Blob Storage Service is a technique that refers to storing huge amount of data available in unstructured form in its corresponding form. The services constitute an accounts, container, and blobs. Blob service stores data, which are usually text and binary data in two types of blobs; block blobs and page blobs. Block blobs are optimized for streaming services, whereas page blobs are for random ‘read/write operations’. The data is easily accessible to all authorized users available across the world through HTTP or HTTPS.

The size of one Blob is in GBs and 200TB Blobs can be stored in one storage account, in case the account creation date is 8 June 2012 or later. Mentioned below are some common applications of Blob Storage service:

  • The technique is implemented to serve both images and documents to a web browser.
  • The technique is implemented to store the files containing significant information and make them available for global access.
  • The technique is implemented for streaming of audio and video.
  • The technique is implemented to plan secure backup as well as recovery if a disaster strikes.
  • The technique is implemented to store data for analysis by either Windows Azure-hosted service or on-premises service.

Well, Blob Storage service can be used for using data privately for internal usage or to expose data to users across the globe.

Benefits of using Windows Azure Blob Storage Service

As you can see in the figure (above), Blob Storage Service includes Account, Container, and Blob are the primary components, where the account provides access to Windows Azure Storage, container provides grouping of multiple blobs, and Blob is a file of any type and size. Following are the key benefits of using Windows Azure Blob Storage Service:

  • Flexible, Reliable, and Unlimited off-site Data Storage – Windows Azure Blob Storage Service lets you back up data in a flexible, reliable, and convenient way, and apart from these, the storage is unlimited as well as globally accessible. This makes data access quick and very easily for you as if you are modifying data at your end.
  • Backup Archive – Windows Azure Blob Storage Service is much better substitute to the option called tape for backup archiving that is based on the physical transportation for measuring the protection of the media as well as for an off-site facility. In contrast, the newer technique is fast, durable, and with high availability.
  • No Overhear for Hardware Management – Windows Azure service does not require any sort of external overhead for hardware management, as they automatically manage it and provide protection against failures and geo-replication for redundancy.
  • No Extra Cost - Window Azure Blob Storage Service does not involve extra expenditure as well as irrelevant cost, but only for the service that is used. It can be cost effective being off-site and a backup archive.

Additional Requisites and Components

Since Windows Azure Blob Storage Service makes data backup globally accessible to all authorized users via HTTP or HTTPS, the configuration setup requires some additional components that I am going to unveil in the below section:


Data stored at the centralized location is significant and must be protected from unauthorized access and many other factors. Well, Windows Azure Blob Storage System includes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protection for data, which keeps data secure enough apart from making it available from the different locations of the words via HTTP or HTTPS.

Requisites for Installation

  • In case SQL Server is installed and running on Azure Virtual Machine, you have to update your existing instance or you can install SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2.
  • In case SQL Server is installed and running on on-premises, no need to update the existing instance, as SQL server 2012 includes SP1 CU2.

SQL Server Components

  • URL – The URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator that is uniquely linked to individual backup files and is used to provide the exact location and name of the backup file it is linked to.
  • Credential – SQL Server credential is nothing but an object that stores the information used for authentication required to link up with resources located outside the SQL server. In this implementation, SQL Server backup and restore processes require login credentials to authenticate to the Windows Azure Blob storage service.

Windows Azure Blob Storage System is pretty much reliable and flexible for SQL Server database as well as restore. Thus, I recommend implementing this technique and keep your massive amount of data safe.

Tags: SQL server backup

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