Practical Azure #3: The Case for Windows Azure Drives

In part three of my continuing series, I cover Windows Azure Drives, an abstraction of Windows Azure Blob storage designed to provide a durable layer of storage with the same file I/O semantics of a local drive.

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And here are the Handy Links for this episode:

Get your free 90-day Azure account

Windows Azure Training Kit


Blob Service Concepts

Understanding Block Blobs and Page Blobs

Windows Azure Drives White Paper

Comments (2)
  1. great intro to CloudDrive … one thing I wanted to ask, what if I have more than 1 instance … only 1 instance will be able to mount this drive as writeable at a time. so how do I have a scale out application that many instances all want to write to a drive?

  2. Jim O'Neil says:

    correct – drives employ a lease model, so can be mounted for write by only one VM/role instance at a time; snapshot can be used for read replicas. The White Paper quoted in the post provides a little insight into some patterns, including having a 'manager' role that oversees the allocation. It may be that each VM instance has its own drive and the 'manager' routes traffic – essentially a sharding pattern. Or, if it's not a heavy-write app, then perhaps all writes go through one instance (w/failover) – this was the original model for the Mongo on Azure implementation.  Using SMB – see…/using-smb-to-share-a-windows-azure-drive-among-multiple-role-instances.aspx – is another option depending on the use case.

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