We heard you loud and clear that you want cheaper transaction costs for Windows Azure Blobs, Tables, Queues, and Drives. We are therefore very pleased today to slash transaction prices 10 fold for Windows Azure Storage and CDN. This means that it now costs $0.01 for 100,000 transactions ($1 per 10 million). This applies to all transactions for Windows Azure Storage Blobs (PutBlob, GetBlob, DeleteBlob, etc), Tables (PutEntity, GetEntity, Table Queries, Batch Transactions, etc), Queues (PutMessage, GetMessage, DeleteMessage, UpdateMessage, etc), as well as transactions to VHD’s stored in Windows Azure Storage from Drives and the new IaaS Data Disks that was just released. Pricing details can be found here.
Windows Azure Storage service was built from ground up to provide storage at massive scale that is highly available and durable. We have provided a storage solution that scales out and load balances automatically, so it does not require manual sharding techniques to be applied. Our storage stack is layered to provide different types of storage abstractions, as described in our SOSP paper. It provides the following four data abstractions:
Windows Azure Blob Service: supports storing large scale unstructured data. Think of it as your file store in the cloud. It empowers developers to build internet scale applications like a document store, media sharing for social networking sites, device backups, etc. In addition, our Windows Azure CDN can be utilized to ensure that the blobs stored are delivered to end users efficiently by making use of the 24+ worldwide caching locations.
Windows Azure Table Service: is a NoSQL structured store system that auto scales hence enabling users to build applications requiring massive scale structured store. It provides an OData interface to access the structured store system. Distributed systems that require massive scale can benefit from storing its structured data in this NoSQL store – example scenarios include: keeping track of users for social sites that can grow to support millions of users, CRM data, queryable metadata for massive number of items/objects, etc.
Windows Azure Queue Service: is an asynchronous messaging system that enables reliable inter-role or component communication for large scale distributed systems. It provides a lease-based message processing system to effectively deal with failures during message processing. It also allows updating of messages that enables more efficient continuation on failure. Example scenarios – web role enqueues work for worker roles to process asynchronously (image processing, virus scan, report building etc.), queues are used for workflow like order processing, etc.
Windows Azure Disks, Images and Drives: A Windows Azure Virtual Machine allows you to easily deploy an IaaS Windows Server or Linux virtual machine and hence migrate your legacy applications in the cloud without having to change them. With a Windows Azure Virtual Machine, you need to associate at least one disk to the VM for your operating system. This disk is a VHD stored as a page blob in Windows Azure Storage. In addition, you can attach multiple data disks with the virtual machine and these data disks are VHDs stored as page blobs. All VHD’s are fixed formatted and all writes to the disk are converted to PutPage transactions that are set to your storage account in the Windows Azure Blob Service, which provides durability for all writes to the IaaS disks. In addition, if you take an image of your virtual machine, it is also stored as a VHD formatted page blob in the Windows Azure Blob Service. These images can then be used to load virtual machines. Then for PaaS, we also have Windows Azure Drives, which allow Windows Azure PaaS roles to dynamically network mount a page blob formatted as a single volume VHD. Both Disks (used for IaaS) and Drives (used for PaaS) are network mounted durable VHDs stored in page blobs, and all transactions to those blobs count towards the billable transactions for the storage account in which they are contained.
To get started, please visit the Windows Azure website and register your Windows Azure Storage account. We provide an easy to use and open REST APIs in addition to client libraries in various languages such as .NET, Java, Node.js, etc. hence making the storage service available to large number of developers. You can download easy to use storage client libraries for your favorite language here and start building applications that require large scale storage.
The following resources provide additional information: