We are very excited to release multiple improvements to Windows Azure Storage. These include price reductions, new manageability features, and new service features for Windows Azure Blobs, Tables, and Queues.
Jai Haridas will be presenting these features and more on Windows Azure Storage at Tech Ed 2012, so for more details please attend his talk today or view his talk online in a few days.
New Service Features
We’ve released a new version of the REST API, “2012-02-12”. We’ve updated the Java Storage Client library to reflect the new features. We’ve also released source code for a CTP of our .NET storage client library. This version contains the following new features:
- Shared Access Signatures (Signed URLs) for Tables and Queues – similar to the Shared Access Signature feature previously available for Blobs, this allows account owners to issue URL access to specific resources such as tables, table ranges, queues, blobs and containers while specifying granular sets of permissions. In addition, there are some smaller improvements to Shared Access Signatures for Blobs. Learn more: Introducing Table SAS (Shared Access Signature), Queue SAS and update to Blob SAS
- Expanded Blob Copy – For Blobs, we now support copying blobs between storage accounts and copy blob (even within accounts) is performed as an asynchronous operation. This is available in the new version, but will only work if the destination storage account was created on or after June 7, 2012. Of course, Copy Blob operations within the same account will continue to work for all accounts. Learn more: Introducing Asynchronous Cross-Account Copy Blob
- Improved Blob Leasing – Leasing is now available for blob containers, and allows infinite lease duration. In addition, lease durations between 15-60 seconds are also supported. Changing the lease id (in order to rotate the lease-id across your components) is now supported. Learn more: New Blob Lease Features: Infinite Leases, Smaller Lease Times, and More
Users of the Windows Azure Management Portal will benefit from the following improvements in managing their storage accounts. These portal improvements are detailed further in New Storage Features on the Windows Azure Portal post.
- Introducing Locally Redundant Storage – Storage users are now able turn off geo-replication by choosing Locally Redundant Storage (LRS). LRS provides highly durable and available storage within a single location (sub region).
- Choosing Geo Redundant Storage or Locally Redundant Storage – By default storage accounts are configured for Geo Redundant Storage (GRS), meaning that Table and Blob data is replicated both within the primary location and also to a location hundreds of miles away (geo-replication). As detailed in this blog post, using LRS may be preferable in certain scenarios, and is available at a 23-34% discount compared to GRS. The price of GRS remains unchanged. Please note that a one-time bandwidth charge will apply if you choose to re-enable GRS after switching to LRS. You can also learn more about geo-replication in Introducing Geo-replication for Windows Azure Storage.
- Configuration of Storage Analytics – While our analytics features (metrics and logging) have been available since last summer, configuring them required the user to call the REST API. In the new management portal, users can easily configure these features. To learn more about metrics and logging, see Windows Azure Storage Analytics.
- Monitoring Storage Metrics – Storage users can now also monitor any desired set of metrics tracked in your account via the management portal.
As mentioned above, users can reduce costs by choosing to use Locally Redundant Storage. Furthermore, we are excited to announce that we are reducing the pricing for storage transactions from $0.01 per 10,000 transactions to $0.01 per 100,000, reducing transaction costs by 90%! Learn more: 10x Price Reduction for Windows Azure Storage Transactions.
We’ve introduced a number of improvements to Windows Azure Storage and we invite you to read about each of them in the referenced blog posts. As always, we welcome your feedback and hope you’ll enjoy these new features!
Jeffrey Irwin and Brad Calder