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IUnknown Windows Azure mumblings of IUnknown

The Azure team today released a few goodies. One of them is the OS release 1.1 and the other key release is the Azure Drive. This is brilliant implementation and will pave ways for some new patterns in designing apps for Azure.

Here is a summary straigh from the horses mouth.

Windows Azure Drive provide Windows Azure applications the ability to use a durable drive to store and access their data using standard Windows NTFS APIs.


The following summarizes some high level points to remember when using a Windows Azure Drive:



  • A Drive is a Page Blob formatted as a Fixed NTFS VHD between 16 MB and 1TB.
  • A VM can dynamically mount up to 16 drives.
  • A Page Blob can only be mounted by only one VM at a time for read/write access.
  • The storage account used to store the Page Blob and the compute account used to run the application should be allocated in the same geo-location in the Windows Azure Developer Portal in order to get the best performance out of the drive.
  • Drives can be uploaded or downloaded via the Windows Azure Blob interface. The formatted Fixed NTFS VHDs can be uploaded as a Page Blob using the blob interface and then mounted as a drive.   Similarly, a formatted Page Blob can be downloaded through the Page Blob interface and then the downloaded drive can be used remotely as a VHD.
  • The OS driver provided by Windows Azure is only available within the Windows Azure VM instances in the Windows Azure cloud. No driver is distributed by Microsoft at this time to allow you to mount drives remotely. Even so, you can download a drive using use the Windows Azure Blob interfaces and mount the downloaded VHD drive where it is downloaded for use, but any updates to that downloaded version will not be sent to the Windows Azure Blob service.
  • Drives can be backed up and shared via Snapshot and Copy. 

People familiar with would know a similar implementation in Amazon's S3 and can sure draw parallels. As a MSDN premium subscriber this does tempt me to implement my own JungleDisk, GDrive clone. One could do worse than this with the free 7.5 GB/month. 

Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 12:57 AM | Back to top

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