Windows Azure Storage Architecture Overview

Interesting article published at the end of last year:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazurestorage/archive/2010/12/30/windows-azure-storage-architecture-overview.aspx

The article does a deep dive into the Storage Architecture of Azure.  It’s a shame this feature seems to on ice for Microsoft (by customer demand for sure, since SQL Azure is getting all the fans), since the architecture has a lot of potential in scalability and reliability.

The three main layers are:

  1. Front-End Layer, responsible to authenticate, authorize and route each requests to a partition server.
  2. Partition Layer, responsible to load balance partitions across a server farm.
  3. Distributed (and replicated) File System (DFS), responsible for storing bits on disk and to replicate it.

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The article goes through a request lifecycle, how failures at different layers are addressed, how Azure Fault & Upgrade domains relate to this architecture and how partitioning is automatically handled.

This gives you a very good overview of Azure Storage behind the scene!


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