Azure Files–Standard and Premium

This is part of a series on my preparation for the DP-900 exam. This is the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals, part of a number of certification paths. You can read various posts I’ve created as part of this learning experience.

I’ve been studying for the DP-900 exam, which is the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals. This includes the Azure SQL options, but also plenty more, including Azure Files. I have never really used these, and wasn’t sure what this included, so I had to dig in a big and learn a few things.

This posts covers part of the concept of Azure Files and the differences with Standard and Premium, which were things that were not intuitive for me.

The Azure Files Basics

First, Azure Files provides file shares, as you might expect. These are SMB shares, which I would have guessed, and NFS ones, which I would not have guessed. These are based on Azure Storage accounts, so Azure Files is essentially a sub-section of a Storage account. You can mix these in a storage account, but that isn’t recommended. A little tidbit to remember.

There is integration with AD and AAD, as well as using the storage account keys. You can also sync local shares with Azure Files, all handy things.

The URL is :, where storageaccount is the name you’ve picked. I don’t love the flat namespace with me being inside it with all Azure customers, but I also don’t know how hard this is to manage. I’d at least like some or maybe some

Standard and Premium

As you might expect, there are two tiers for Files: standard and premium, As you might guess, one is HDD based (Standard) and one is SSD (premium). I’m sure you can guess one costs more (premium) than the other, and also has lower latency.

What was surprising to me was the makeup. Standard is a General Purpose version 2 (GPv2) account, while premium is a Filestorage account. More interesting to me is the GPv2 account can have queue, container (blob) or table storage, but the FileStorage is only for file shares. Premium is more limited, though with higher performance.

Lots of stuff seems to be geared to GPv2 storage, including data lakes, so I’m surprised here. FileStorage does allow NFS, whereas the GPv2 is only SMB.

The other thing is that the premium storage has LRS (local redundant) and ZRS (zone redundant), but not GRS (geographically redundant) options. That means that you have some less reliability/availability, though both are very reliable overall.

It makes sense that high performance SSDs might not be able to easily manage large files across geographic regions quickly, but it wasn’t what I intuited. I missed this on a practice test, so decided to write about it a bit and try to cement this in my memory.

Things to Know

If you are replacing an on-premises file share, Azure Files is what you use. Know that the redundancy differences, and understand the differences in the two levels.

Hopefully this helps you in DP-900 prep.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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