As always, I really enjoyed Ignite 2022 and the announcements that came out of it. Some of my favorite announcements were about some new Azure storage options. The new Azure storage options that were announced were the general availability of Premium SSDv2 managed disks (announcement) and the preview of the Elastic SAN (announcement). I’m going to share some of the key features and benefits of these new storage services.
Azure Elastic SAN was the most intriguing announcement to me because it is an entirely new type of storage service. Elastic SAN is truly a managed SAN service in Azure that provides highly scalable and performant storage that is accessible via iSCSI. The diagram from Microsoft about this service helps to see how the management concepts closely mirror an on premises SAN.
Because this was just released to preview there are still some features that are missing and it is only available in two regions. This definitely isn’t ready for prime time yet. But I do think this new Azure storage option opens up some unique possibilities.
The performance and capacity can scale as high as 64k IOPS and 1GB/s for throughput for each volume (and 500k IOPS and 8GB/s for each SAN). That is really impressive for a completely managed storage service that you can deploy in a few clicks. The pricing is surprisingly good as well at only $.08/GB/month.
The final feature to highlight is the protocol used to connect. Elastic SAN uses iSCSI like a traditional SAN. This will enable some applications and scenarios that previously weren’t possible on Azure. The other key implication of using iSCSI is the storage doesn’t go through the storage bus.
The storage transactions use the networking throughput of the VM. Small VMs typically have very limited disk performance, but with Elastic SAN, even small VMs can take advantage of very high disk performance.
I put together a summarized chart of some shared storage services on Azure to give a sense of the scalability, performance, and cost. It is important to note that each offering has unique features, protocols, and use cases. However, I do think this is an informative chart.
|Type/Feature||Elastic SAN||Premium Storage Account||Storage Account||NetApp|
Elastic SAN is an Azure storage option that I’m going to keep a close eye on in the future to watch how it continues to develop. I look forward to seeing this offering mature in the coming months and seeing what scenarios organizations use this service in.
Premium SSDv2 Managed Disk
Premium SSDv2 Managed Disks is the other new Azure storage option announced at Ignite 2022. This was a preview offering that has now moved to general availability. The two main improvements that come with SSDv2 is flexibility in performance and cost as well as higher performance ceilings. SSDv2 is similar to the Premium SSD offering in most other respects.
With existing managed disk offerings, performance scales directly with capacity. This means if you want your disk to have higher IOPS or more throughput, you have to add and pay for capacity, even if you don’t need that capacity. In some extreme situations, you might end up paying for many TBs of storage space that you don’t need just to get the disk performance.
As I mentioned, the performance ceiling for SSDv2 is higher than the v1 counterpart as well. This helps SSDv2 to strike a nice middle ground between SSDv1 and Ultradisk (which is very expensive). Below, I have given a chart that compares performance, capacity, and price for the different managed disk offerings. It is worth noting that Ultradisk and SSDv2 are a little simplistic because the cost also depends on the performance allocated.
|Type/Feature||Ultradisk||Premium SSDv2||Premium SSD||SSD||HDD|
Ignite is one of the most exciting times for me as a Microsoft consultant and architect, and this year definitely didn’t disappoint. The new Azure Storage options will enable new use cases, higher performance, and more cost effective architectures. I look forward to implementing these in the future. Stay tuned for more interesting announcements from Ignite and other news. You might also be interested in this post about the new Azure Firewall Basic.
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I am a leader and solutions architect with over 10 years of hands on experience in private, public, and hybrid cloud technologies, networking, security, and data center management. My passion is to help clients gain agility and accelerate their business through IT modernization using cloud technologies.
I have consulted for some of the largest universities and corporations in the world on topics such as Azure Architecture, Infrastructure as Code, Azure Virtual Desktop, Application Hosting, Network Security, Identity Management, and much more.
Finally, I am actively involved in Christian ministry as a teacher and I strive to reflect the character of Jesus in every area of life.
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