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Managing snapshots, or at least using a tool that manages the snapshots for you, is a very common scenario for any IT admin today. Windows clients have this option available for a long time, storage systems leverage snapshots for several processes, but probably the most well-known scenario we see snapshots today are backups. Microsoft just announced they are offering, as a public preview, the snapshots functionality for Azure File Shares.
Snapshots term is pretty much self-explanatory, they work as an exact copy of the information in a specific time. A snapshot acts like a detailed table of contents, providing the user with accessible copies of data that they can roll back to.
Snapshot capabilities were already available for Azure Virtual Machines:
Some misconceptions around cloud services allow organizations to think that, when you are moving to Azure/AWS or any other provider, you don’t actually need to worry about data availability or corruption since you are paying someone else to take care of that. This is when our message as IT experts must be clear, even if we are paying a cloud provider to host our data/services/applications it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily protect from the way we handle or mishandle these data.
But mishandling data is not the only reason we should consider snapshots, here are the three main motives to use them:
This new functionality is being enabled as a public preview (meaning that Microsoft is not providing official support) without any additional cost. This option will be available to create and store read-only periodical versions of your data in Azure, and even copy this version to a separate location.
The snapshots can be managed from Azure in several ways, from the Azure portal as shown in the image above; using Azure CLI 2.0 (which will allow Linux management), and also supporting REST APIs like. Net and Python. Using PowerShell to manage snapshots will be available soon.
You will be available to also access the snapshots from SMB and even mount them as a separate drive. These snapshots will be maintained as long as necessary unless they are explicitly deleted or the base file (from where it was created) is deleted.
Microsoft also informs that the maximum number of share snapshots allowed in Azure is, for now, 200. But no limit on the amount of space those snapshots take.
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Microsoft, Services by Augusto Alvarez
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