Microsoft Tackles Cloud Data Availability With Azure Storage Option
Windows Azure Storage customers can preview Read-Access Geo Redundant Storage (RA-GRS), a new option that enhances cloud data availability.Microsoft has kicked off a public preview of its Read-Access Geo Redundant Storage (RA-GRS), a feature for the company's growing Windows Azure cloud storage platform that improves access to data in the event of an outage. Steven Martin, general manager for Windows Azure, explained in a blog post that "RA-GRS provides read access to your secondary storage replica should the storage account on the primary location become unavailable." Localized events should have little impact on an organization's ability to grab data from their Azure Storage accounts he suggested, since "the secondary location is hundreds of miles from the primary location, RA-GRS provides both data durability and improved data access." "As customers increasingly rely on the cloud for business critical solutions, the durability of data and ability to access data during a catastrophic event becomes paramount," wrote Martin. The replication-enhancing option provides Azure Storage accounts with an endpoint name for a secondary endpoint. Read requests can then be sent to the secondary endpoint and administrators can query the endpoint to determine an account's replication lag time, noted Martin.
"Since replication to the secondary region is done asynchronously, this provides an eventual consistent version of the data to read from," informed Windows Azure Storage staffers Jai Haridas and Brad Calder in a separate Windows Azure Storage Team Blog post that offers an extended technical walk-through. The 'opt-in' feature requires that an Azure Storage account be geo-replicated, they added.