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Microsoft Gives Azure Blob Storage Massive Capacity Upgrade

Microsoft's cloud object storage service now supports multi-terabyte file sizes and features an enhanced data import/export capability that includes the ability to transfer data from physical storage media.

Azure Blob Storage

Microsoft has drastically increased the maximum file size limit on Azure Blob Storage, the company's cloud-based object storage offering, from 195GB to a whopping 4.77TB.

Now science researchers and other customers with hefty cloud storage needs have room for their most demanding workloads, according to Michael Hauss, a Microsoft Azure Storage program manager. "The increased blob size better supports a diverse range of scenarios, from media companies storing and processing 4K and 8K videos to cancer researchers sequencing DNA," he wrote in a blog post.

Hauss also announced that Azure Blob Storage's maximum supported block size had been raised to 100MB from 4MB. The 50,000 block per Blob limit remains unchanged.

Developers can start building solutions that support bigger file sizes with .NET Client Library version 8 or the service's REST API (version 2016-05-31). Java, Node.js and AzCopy support will filter down in the coming weeks, Hauss added.

Microsoft also announced the addition of its Azure Import/Export service, which enables data transfers to and from Azure Blob Storage via physical hard drives, to the Azure Portal management hub.

Customers can use Azure Import/Export to physically transfer large amounts of data to and from their Blob storage accounts, a "sneakernet" approach that involves shipping hard drives loaded with data to Microsoft and solves the problem of costly and time-consuming transfers over the public internet.

There's also an updated version of the WAImportExport software tool that streamlines the process of copying large amounts of data onto hard drives before they're shipped to Azure data centers.

"You will no longer need to shard the data and figure out optimal placement of data across multiple disk," boasted Microsoft program manager Rena Shah, in a separate blog post. "You can now copy data from multiple source directories in a single command line."

Customers who have deployed StorSimple Virtual Device Series hybrid-cloud storage can now manage their virtual arrays using the Azure Portal.

Aimed at remote and branch offices, a StorSimple virtual array runs on an organization's existing hypervisor infrastructure (versus a physical StorSimple array) and supports the iSCSI and Server Message Block protocols for both block-level and file storage access. A new software extension enables customers to create an Azure Resource Manager that provides visibility and control over their StorSimple resources.

Classic StorSimple portal is being migrated to the Azure Portal during the next few weeks. The process will be seamless and incur no downtime, assured the company.

Over at Project Bletchley, Microsoft's consortium blockchain platform, the company welcomed a demonstration of the open-source Corda distributed ledger technology for financial institutions.

Available in the Azure Marketplace as a virtual machine image, Corda from R3 is designed to help banks and other firms manage and automate financial agreements. Unlike other blockchain-based systems where data is broadcast to all participants, Corda restricts data sharing to parties that are authorized to view or validate transactions.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...