Azure Backend Storage Selection Guide

SoftNAS® NAS supports the broadest range of backend storage options on Microsoft® Azure, including Azure Disk Storage, Blob Storage and Premium Block Storage. It’s important to select the right backend storage to align with the performance requirements of your application. General guidance is provided below.

azure storage guide

Step 1: Understanding Azure Storage Types

In general, Microsoft Azure offers several types of storage services including Disk Storage, Blob Storage and Premium Block Storage. To determine which storage type is appropriate, you will need to know the IOPS requirements of your application.

What is Azure Disk Storage?

Azure Disk storage is durable, highly available and secure storage for virtual machines. There are two main types of Azure Disk Storage.  

  • Standard Disk Storage: For testing, consider Standard Disk storage (HDD) to keep costs down, as you scale up and down quickly.
  • Premium Disk Storage: Choose Premium Disk storage (SSD) for I/O-intensive applications, where low latency and high throughput are critical.

What is Azure Blob Storage?

Azure Blob Storage is cost-effective, scalable object storage. Azure Blob storage is offered in hot and cool tiers, depending on how often data access is needed.

  • Hot Blob Tier: For Blob Storage that is more frequently accessed
  • Cool Blob Tier: Less active Blob Storage that needs to be less frequently accessed


What is Azure Premium Block Storage?

For I/O intensive workloads, Azure offers Azure Premium Block Storage to deliver high-performance, low-latency disk support for virtual machines (VMs), stored on solid state drives (SSD).

Step 2: Choose Between Disk, Blob or Premium Block Storage

Azure Blob storage is usually chosen for applications that do not require high IOPS. However, with SoftNAS® ObjectBacker Backend Storage Acceleration with patent-pending ObjFast adaptive flow technology, SoftNAS Cloud NAS can write data up to 400% faster than before, making cost-effective object storage a viable option for write intensive use cases that want to take advantage of lower cost Azure Blob storage.
Azure Blob storage with SoftNAS ObjectBacker is appropriate for write sensitive workloads, including:

  • Archival and Backup
  • Lift and Shift Data Migrations
  • Large-scale Content Publishing

The performance charts below show the IOPS and Throughput performance increases for NFS, CIFS/SMB and iSCSI workloads with SoftNAS ObjectBacker.

azure cifs iops throughput performance
  • 305% improvement in CIFS IOPS using Azure Blob
  • 428% improvement in CIFS throughput using Azure Blob
azure nfs iops throughput performance
  • 320% improvement in NFS IOPS using Azure Blob
  • 377% improvement in NFS throughput using Azure Blob
azure iscsi iops throughput performance
  • 310% improvement in iSCSI IOPS using Azure Blob
  • 369% improvement in iSCSI throughput using Azure Blob






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