In today’s article I will discuss about one of the services provided by Microsoft Azure which is the Azure Table Storage. Now a days we are hearing more on NoSQL (Non SQL, Non Relational, Not Only SQL) which is being adapted by some big companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon because of it’s straight forward usage, high scalability, low latency and high performance. Later on this article we will try to create an Azure Storage table using the M.S. Azure portal then will create afterwards a sample table with sample fields using the Azure Storage Explorer.
Azure Storage Table
Prior to teaching you on how to create an Azure Storage Table in M.S. Azure portal let’s first discuss briefly what is an Azure Storage Table. Azure Table Storage is one of the services offered by M.S. Azure which stores NoSQL data in the cloud. It is non-relational and key value pair which can be use to storing massive amounts of unstructured data. Data access is fast for Azure Table storage because it is straight forward to use due to its simple retrieval and fast inserts. Azure Table storage has a simple structure composed of tables and entities. When we say table it is just a collection of entities while an entity we can say that it is a row of data. Like an SQL, entities in azure table storage also have data types like boolean, integer, guid, double and other known database data types.
Microsoft Azure Portal
Now let’s try to access the Microsoft Azure Portal through this link. When you have successfully login using your Microsoft Account you will be navigated to the main page of the portal as shown from the image above. The Microsoft Azure portal is your management tool for creating, updating and deleting of services that you want like Virtual Machines, SQL Databases, cloud services like the Azure Storage table. In order to have access to other services you need a valid subscription which is not free so instead we will use the Developer Benefit program that I discussed on my previous article Visual Studio Dev Essentials.
CREATING AZURE STORAGE TABLE
1.) Click Browse and search for storage. It will show two kinds of Storage account one is normal and the other one is classic. So for testing purposes lets just choose the normal storage account. The only difference between the two selection is the API that is being used, the classic uses the existing Service Management API and the normal one uses the Azure Resource Manager API.
2.) Click the Plus sign in order for us to input the specifications of our azure storage that we want to create.
3) Fill in the required fields and selections for creating the storage account. For this testing purposes you can just follow the inputs that I have used. You can check the meaning of each input field by click the Information Icon found on the right side of each input requirements. For the resource group setting, when you have successfully activated your visual studio benefits it will automatically appear under your subscriptions. When all of the requirements have been sufficed just click the Create button.
4) Just wait for the deployment of your azure storage to be completed.
5) Once deployment has been completed it will show this new page below. This means that your Azure Storage Table is already up and running and can already be accessed (add, update or delete table and entities).
AZURE STORAGE EXPLORER
Now that our created Azure Storage Table is already up and running we can now access it and also let’s try to add one sample table and populate it with sample entities. In order for us to access our Azure Storage table we are going to use the Azure Storage Explorer tool where in you can download here the latest version. Kindly install it then I will walk you through on configuring it to connect to our storage table.
1) After you have successfully downloaded and installed Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer we need to configure the connection to access our newly created Azure Storage Explorer. Click the plug icon in order to add the key for our storage.
You can find the given key on Microsoft Azure Portal under Access Key options for you selected Azure Storage Table. There are two keys given and you can choose either one of them. After copying to your Azure storage explorer just click next to continue
2) Now you need to enter your Account name which can also be found on your Microsoft Azure Portal then your selected azure storage table and under your access keys.
3) After copying it to your Azure Storage Explorer just select the default storage endpoints domain and just click Next.
4) Then it will just display the summary of your Storage connection and just press the connect button to connect to our Azure Storage Table.
5) Now lets create a sample Table with entities. In order to do so just select our Azure Table Storage and right click on the Table and select Create Table.
6) After creating our sample table let’s create our sample entities by right clicking the CUSTOMERS table and select the Open Table Editor. Then you will see an edit screen on your right side where you can add, delete, import, export and Query your selected table.
7) In order for us to add entities just click the add button on the command bar then an Add entity screen will appear. We can also add new properties for our entity by clicking the Add Property. Also in the Add entity screen we can select the data type for our properties as well as input the values we like for our entity. Just Click the Insert button to create our desired entity.
8) As you can see the image below we have already successfully created our Table as well as our entity.
In today’s article we have discussed a lot of things with regards to Azure Storage Table from brief introduction, on how to create it using Microsoft Azure Portal and manage it using the Azure Storage Explorer. We have discussed some steps on how to create an Azure Storage Table from scratch up to Creating a sample Table and Entity. I think next time I am going to discuss on how to manipulate our sample Azure Storage Table using a simple console application under C# language.