Azure Storage Explorer: Cloud Storage Management

What is Azure Storage Explorer
Flexi Solution based on Data Types: Azure Blob Storage, Azure Table Storage, Azure Queue Storage, Azure Files
Features of Azure Storage Explorer
How to Install Azure Storage Explorer

Storage is one of the major components of cloud-based computing environments. Efficient management and connectivity of cloud-based storage is one of the key aspects of storage management. Many organizations look for ways to optimize storage management in cloud environments. Azure from Microsoft is a major player in the cloud market and it offers Azure storage explorer which is a tool for optimizing Azure storage. 

Today we look more in detail about Azure Storage explorer solution, its features and use cases, advantages and disadvantages and so on.   

Azure Storage Explorer

Azure storage explorer is a free tool from Microsoft which is available on several platforms namely – Windows, Linux and Mac and it offers a graphical interface to browse and perform actions on Azure storage accounts. 

Azure storage explorer utility eases the cloud storage management , and boosts productivity. Azure storage explorer lets you efficiently connect and manage Azure storage service accounts and resources across cloud services subscriptions. We can create, delete, view and edit resources in Azure storage , Azure Cosmos DB, and data lake storage using Azure Storage explorer. 

It is a native cross platform tool which enables users to connect with Azure storage accounts, Azure Cosmos DB and data lake storage 

Flexi Solution based on Data Types

Azure storage explorer provides a flexi solution to keep data as files, tables and messages. It is easy to read and manipulate data and with storage explorer we can use a range of storage and data operations tasks on any of the Azure storage accounts. These tasks may include editing, downloading, copying and deleting and so on, Azure storage explorer can access variety of data types from services such as : 

  • Azure Blob Storage – on blob storage following operations can be performed using storage explorer – copy blob and folders, list blob containers, upload and download blobs and delete blobs. 
  • Azure Table Storage – on table storage following operations can be performed using storage explorer – creation of tables, import and export functionality and query, add, edit and delete entities.
  • Azure Queue Storage – on queue storage following operations can be performed using storage explorer – creating queues, view messages, add messages, dequeue messages, clear queues etc.
  • Azure Files – On file storage following operations can be performed using storage explorer – create file share, upload, download, copy , paste , create and delete directories.

Having multiple storage accounts across various subscriptions in Azure tenant and their management via Azure portal could be a time-consuming task storage explorer that lets you control the data stored in multiple Azure storage accounts and across multiple Azure subscriptions.

There are various ways in which we can connect a storage explorer application to Azure storage accounts. Two permissions are required to access Azure storage account data and its management. We can use storage explorer only with data layer permissions. The user should have at least read the data role on the data layer as the data layer helps to access blobs, containers and other data resources. 

Azure storage explorer also lets you access Cosmos DB and Azure data lake data. Activities like creation, deletion of databases , collections, documents and graphs are supported. 

Azure data lake data service is used for storage and analysis of large data sets and large data workloads. It is ideally suited for data of any size and any speed to be captured. Storage explorer lets you connect data lake accounts and perform functions like create , delete and manage containers, upload, manage and administer blobs. 

Features of Azure Storage Explorer

  • Flexibility to work disconnected from cloud or offline with local emulators. 
  • Ease of connecting and managing multiple storage accounts.
  • Interface can be used to update and view entities in storage accounts.

How to Install Azure Storage Explorer

Windows 7,8,10 and 11 support storage explorer and as a prerequisite it requires .NET framework version 4.7.2 (minimum). 

You need to download Azure Storage explorer from Microsoft official website.

  • Choose the operating system and click on Download now. 
  • You will get StorageExplorer.exe file and execute the exe file.
  • Click on Finish button to complete installation.
  • To access Azure storage explorer from start menu search for Azure storage explorer and click on that to open it.
  • Click on Add an account link.
  • Post installation of Azure Storage explorer you can associate an active Azure account and storage resources with it so you can manage your storage resources
  • For full access of resources post sign-in Storage Explorer needs permissions both on  management (Azure Resource Manager) and data layer. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) permissions are required to access storage accounts, the containers in the account, and the data in the containers. For having permissions only at the data layer, sign in using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) option while attaching a resource.
  • In Storage explorer choose view 🡪 Account management or choose manage accounts button
  • Account management displays all Azure accounts where you sign – in. In order to connect another account, choose Add an account option 
  • Then connect to Azure storage option will appear … choose select resource panel , select subscription.
  • In the Azure environment panel, choose Azure environment and sign in . sign in to global Azure , national cloud or an Azure Stack instance. Then choose next.
  • Storage explorer will open
  • Post successful sign on with Azure account , the accounts and its associated subscriptions with account will be visible under Account management . Choose Azure subscriptions which you need to work with and select apply.
  • Explorer will display storage accounts associated with Azure subscriptions we selected.

 

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