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Using Microsoft’s Azure Functions as a serverless compute service gives you the ability to execute code on-demand, eliminating the need to explicitly provision or manage infrastructure. This shift toward serverless architecture is redefining how applications are built and deployed, while empowering enterprises to respond swiftly to fluctuating workloads and data needs.
But does Azure Functions offer data storage and management features to match its computational prowess?
In this article, we explore some of the options for Azure Functions storage that can support your serverless deployment on Azure.
Read on as we cover:
- Empowering Serverless Applications with Azure Functions Storage
- Azure Functions Storage Does More with Cloud Volumes ONTAP
- Take Serverless to the Next Level
Empowering Serverless Applications with Azure Functions Storage
Leveraging an event-driven model, Azure Functions responds to triggers to execute chunks of code, aka functions, for inherent scalability. As demands increase, new instances of a function can be seamlessly initiated to handle fluctuating workloads.
In a serverless environment, efficient storage management is crucial for optimal application performance. Since Azure’s storage services are each designed for specific use cases and deployment requirements, they’ll each benefit and support serverless in different ways. Let’s take a look at how.
Azure Blob Storage with Azure Functions
Azure Blob is a highly-scalable storage service specifically designed to store high-capacity unstructured data. The service is considered suitable for use cases that involve serving images or documents directly to browsers, storing files for distributed access, or streaming video and audio content.
Azure Functions offers multiple input and output bindings that are specifically designed for blob storage, enabling effortless integration with stored data. Leveraging Azure Functions’ event-based model, you can trigger input and output functions whenever a new blob—essentially a piece of unstructured data—is added or modified in a blob storage container.
The function can then process the data, such as resizing an image or processing a data file, or write the resulting output to another blob container or a different storage service of your choice. This mechanism allows for immediate data manipulation or analysis, such as running an AI model on the newly uploaded data or transforming file formats.
Why use Azure Blob storage with Azure Functions?
- Event-driven processing by setting Azure Functions to trigger when a new blob is updated or added to Azure Blob storage
- Streamlined data movement triggered by functions between different Azure Blob storage accounts
- Achieve content-based routing by examining the contents of a new blob to determine where it should be routed
Azure Files with Azure Functions
As a fully managed cloud file-share service, Azure Files utilizes the server message block (SMB) protocol for concurrent file share access from anywhere around the globe. While Azure Blob storage may be better suited for unstructured data types, Azure Files works seamlessly with most modern application frameworks and services, including Azure Functions.
Leveraging Azure Files for Azure Functions file storage enables data workflow synchronization by permitting simultaneous read/write operations on single files by multiple functions. This is accomplished by creating a common data layer accessible to Azure Functions where one function may write data into a shared file, while other functions read/process that data later on.
Why use Azure Files with Azure Functions?
- Incorporate file-based processing and manipulation into serverless workflows
- Utilize functions that automatically respond to file system events, such as file creation, modification, or deletion
- Implement error handling and retry logic within Azure Functions for reliable file processing
- Utilize Durable Functions to build long-running, stateful file processing workflows of complex file-based orchestration scenarios
Azure NetApp Files with Azure Functions
In comparison with general-purpose Azure Files storage solutions, Azure NetApp Files harnesses NetApp's enterprise-grade storage capabilities for low-latency and high-throughput file-storage performance. Its advanced data management features, such as NetApp Snapshot-based backups, data set cloning, and replication provide greater data protection to help support business-critical workloads.
Integrating Azure Functions with Azure NetApp Files presents an opportunity to level up your serverless storage. While Azure NetApp Files is built to accommodate growing storage requirements with ease and agility, Azure Functions, on the other hand, enhances processing capabilities through on-demand, serverless computation.
Why use Azure NetApp Files with Azure Functions?
- Utilize Azure Functions’ event-driven design for low-latency workloads to respond and execute code based on file modifications made by Azure NetApp Files
- Swift handling of automated tasks such as file cleanup or archiving, backup and recovery processes, and enforcing compliance policies
- Parallel processing of large data sets through high-IOPS capabilities supports faster processing of I/O-intensive workloads
Azure Functions Storage Does More with Cloud Volumes ONTAP
Cloud Volumes ONTAP is an enterprise-grade data management system that seamlessly complements Azure's native services. With the flexibility to custom create your own storage profile, Cloud Volumes ONTAP enables granular control to strike the perfect balance between performance and storage footprint.
Empowering enterprises to drive operational efficiency, safeguard critical data, and optimize cloud storage costs all while enjoying the benefits of serverless computing is a tough task. Designed to operate seamlessly across all the cloud hyperscalers, Cloud Volumes ONTAP enables enterprises to transition to and adopt serverless frameworks without sacrificing on performance or functionality.
Cloud Volumes ONTAP adds powerful capabilities to support high-performance storage requirements in Azure:
- The high availability architecture with automated failover guarantees minimal downtime and continuous operation
- Edge caching brings file data closer to users no matter where they’re located
- Data recovery through point-in-time copies of your data with highly efficient NetApp Snapshot™ technology
- Automatic disaster recovery processes and backup via Cloud Backup ensure your data is safe, even in the event of catastrophic failure
- Data deduplication, compression, and compaction capabilities that reduce Azure storage consumption
- Efficient data tiering stores infrequently accessed data in lower-cost object storage tiers until it’s needed, then automatically tiers it back to block storage
- FlexClone technology creates writable data clones that only consume space for the delta, reducing costs and enhancing your dev/test processes
Take Serverless to the Next Level
The robust enterprise-grade capabilities of Cloud Volumes ONTAP can take serverless infrastructure to the next level. With its unique features, the platform opens up new avenues for you in your digital transformation journey.
- Does Azure function have storage?
Although Azure Functions itself does not have built-in storage, it can be integrated with various storage services like Azure Blob Storage, Azure Queue Storage, and Azure Table Storage to handle input/output data, trigger functions, and store function state.
- Where are Azure functions stored?
When you deploy an Azure Functions app, the code, dependencies, and configuration details are stored within the app's file system. This allows the Azure Functions runtime to access and execute the code when the functions are triggered.
- How do I add storage to Azure function?
To add storage to an Azure Function, you can utilize Azure-native storage services by leveraging the respective bindings or triggers available in Azure Functions. These bindings can be configured in the function's code or through the Azure portal or Azure CLI.