The next #ignitethetour training I took was with Cecil Philip of Microsoft. Data is of huge interest of me and has been my whole IT career, knowing where that data is stored for production, backup for analytics regardless of it being on premises or in the public cloud or even being hosted by a service provider.
I think with the options we have available today to store our personal data and our mission critical enterprise data and everything in between we have so much choice.
This session was focused on how the cloud could help when it comes to storing your data in Microsoft Azure.
Three key things that the session enabled viewers to go away with were.
- Understand the type of data you have
- Azure has hosted options for databases
- Your data solution should be able to grow with you
What is important for you – the customer
There are thousands of things that will be specific, but many will be very similar.
- How can we make things faster?
- Limit or mitigate risk when deploying new services
- Putting more control to the developers in the organisation
- Using the right tool for the job and potentially being able to pivot when need be
Should we have a storage strategy?
The session moved into more of a why is a storage strategy important. This has been something a good friend of mine Paul Stringfellow has been speaking about both on his blogs and his podcasts, and this relates to all customers not just large enterprise customers and environments should have a storage or data strategy.
We should always be considering,
- Maintaining Security
- Breaking down data and storage services into manageable set
- Consider the lifespan of the data and where it needs to be and for how long?
Before we start
What data do you have?
- Structured Data – data that has been organised into a formatted repository, typically a database, so that its elements can be made addressable for more effective processing and analysis. A data structure is a kind of repository that organizes information for that purpose.
- Unstructured Data – information that either does not have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a pre-defined manner. Unstructured information is typically text-heavy, but may contain data such as dates, numbers, and facts as well.
- Semi Structured Data – a form of structured data that does not obey the formal structure of data models associated with relational databases or other forms of data tables, but nonetheless contains tags or other markers to separate semantic elements and enforce hierarchies of records and fields within the data.
How much data do you have?
Azure Storage Services
There is quite the storage offering when it comes to Microsoft Azure and it’s important to understand the options for those data types and what should be stored where.
What is Azure Blob Storage?
Azure’s Object Storage platform used to store and serve unstructured data.
- App and Web scale data
- Backups and Archive
- Big Data from IoT, Genomics, etc.
My interest here instantly went toward the backup mention above and in particular how Veeam have been leveraging Object Storage for backup data across the platform for storing the backup formats for either long term retention, direct copies but also copies of your Microsoft Office 365 backup data. Some of the characteristics that come with object storage especially with Microsoft Azure Blob Storage.
- Infinite scale
- Globally accessible
- Cost efficient
Databases – Relational Databases
Relational databases have many different options within Microsoft Azure.
The first option is by taking your on-premises SQL or relational database and migrating those VMs or workloads to Microsoft Azure. But this is likely not going to be the best route to take because of cost and management.
The compelling route should be more along the line of PaaS offerings from Azure, these could be any of the following and I am sure there a likely new services happening as and when the demand is great enough.
- Azure SQL Database
- SQL Data Warehouse
All of these PaaS offerings still leverage the Azure Compute and Storage layer, but they offer the ability for many other Azure services to work with these databases.
Azure Cosmos DB – A globally distributed, massively scalable, multi-model database service
A NoSQL database is different to what we just mentioned with SQL or other relational databases.
I actually want to learn some more about Azure Cosmos DB, the introduction in this session was great and opened my eyes to this actually being not another flavour of a NoSQL database but potentially an aggregation of existing NoSQL databases. I need to learn more on this for another time.
I am really interested in the distributed format of these databases and the ease of use about being able to have a write region and then additional read regions across the world or at least in different locations. However, you can have multi region writes which will help with scale.
All of this is really well covered in the Azure Documentation – https://aka.ms/apps20ignite
Another thing that I had to share was the learning paths for this session alone. Almost 15 hours of training! This is hands on training and interactive without the billing but all the learning!