Azure gets some new features and enhancements for Archive Storage

Earlier this month, Microsoft dropped prices by up to 50 percent for its Archive Storage offerings, aiming to provide the most cost-effective storage access. Then, last week, a new data redundancy type, Geo Zone Redundant Storage (GZRS), was introduced as an all-round option.

Today, based on user feedback, the tech giant has unveiled three new capabilities for Archive Storage in public preview.

To start off, there's priority retrieval for archive - a feature aimed toward overcoming the slow rehydration process. For those unaware, rehydration entails the switching of storage access tiers to online hot or cool tiers before data can be read, which is a process that may take a few hours. In contrast, priority retrieval allows flagging of rehydration to make it a much higher priority process, one which can enable data retrieval for blobs under 10GB in size usually in less than an hour. Notably, for the rare cases in which even priority retrieval results in the returning of a few GBs of data in over five hours time, priority retrieval rates will not be charged. The new option will be available in the form of 'High' rehydrate, while the previous general process has been marked as 'Standard'.

Moving on, Upload Blob Direct to Access tier is another new capability that enables uploading of a blob directly to the access tier of your choice using the 'PutBlob' or 'PutBlockList' APIs and the optional parameter "x-ms-access-tier" . Previously, objects uploaded in the same containers for general-purpose v2 and blob storage accounts inherited access tiers of an account. A blob tier could then be changed later manually using 'SetBlobTier' or automated with blob lifecycle management rules. Now, these objects can be uploaded in any tier, regardless of the default account setting.

Finally, CopyBlob enhanced capabilities that improve upon the CopyBlob API are now also in preview. The API now has support for copying data across the archive tier - with some slight caveats -, along with both the aforementioned new features. Furthermore, the parameter "x-ms-rehydrate-priority" can also be set to indicate how quickly a blob should have its copy created in the destination hot and cool tiers. You can find out more regarding support for these new CopyBlob capabilities in the table below:

Hot tier source

Cool tier source

Archive tier source

Hot tier destination

Supported

Supported

Supported within the same account; pending rehydrate

Cool tier destination

Supported

Supported

Supported within the same account; pending rehydrate

Archive tier destination

Supported

Supported

Unsupported

The latest releases of the Azure Portal, .NET Client Library, Java Client Library, and Python Client Library, all support the three new features, while Storage Services REST API (version 2019-02-02 and greater) can be used as well. You can post ideas and suggestions regarding Azure Storage at the feedback forum here, and for feedback on the new Archive features specifically, you can email to ArchiveFeedback@microsoft.com.

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