Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference?

Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference? Storage is one of the highest in demand services in Microsoft Azure. So Azure offers several options for storing data in the cloud. The most common of them include Azure Blob storage and file storage. Azure Blob is an object storage solution. It allows you to store a large amount of unstructured data, whereas Azure files permit you to develop managed file share for the cloud. Moreover, Azure file share can also be mounted by the on premises deployment of Windows, Linux, and macOS.

There are several differences between the Azure Blob Storage and File Storage that we will see in this article.

So let’s start with Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference?

What is Azure Blob Storage?

Blob stands for Binary Large Objects. A highly scalable service and a Microsoft solution for the cloud. Blob is capable of storing an enormous amount of unstructured data. In Blob, each object is in a flat name file. And it appears to be stored in a directory like structure.

Moreover, Azure Blob Storage is capable of many other things. It can store files for distributed access, it can stream audio and videos, you can write log files and it can serve documents and images directly from the browser. Hold on! Blob Storage has many other enticing features that will save your life, for instance, disaster recovery, backup, restore and archiving options.

There are three Blob storage tiers: hot, cool and archive.

Hot – it has a low transactional cost but a high storage cost. And it is used for the frequent access of the object.

Archive – it has a higher transactional cost but a lower storage cost. The archive is the best option if you want long-term storage.

Cool – it is used to store the data that is accessed sporadically. The storage capacity of this tier is vast, and it can store data for 30 days. It has a low storage cost but high transactional expenses.

Features of Azure Blob Storage

  • Best for storing unstructured dataall types of unstructured data like audio, video, and images are adaptable with Blob.
  • Availability and scalability – Blob have high scalability characteristics. It also has a replication zone that allow you to store a copy of the data that is easily accessible.
  • Cost effectiveness – Blob gives you the best value for your money. It has different tiers for storage. You can choose the tier that gives you the best value for the money.
  • Excellent consistency – the latest version is always available for access to ensure superior data integrity.
  • Secured – one of the most caring things about the Blob is; that it is secure. The robust security is due to the encryption technology, active directory and RBAC.
  • Comprehensive data management – Blob is the space for data management. You can store the unstructured data here. It is safe, and the backup of the application is quite helpful to get the valuable lost information back.
  • Data lake optimization – Blob is compatible with the multi protocol access system; it helps to provide significant insights into the workloads. Several other features like; the file namespace and WORM also assist in optimizing data.
  • Cloud application – Blob’s design is built after considering the storage demands of web applications and developing mobiles. Blob has extensive accessibility because it is available in several languages, Blob is available in Java, Python, Node and Jos. Moreover, Blob is manufactured on the SSD storage toes. It helps conduct the low latency sessions.

How can I move data to Blob Storage?

You can move the existing data to Blob storage by the following options.

  • Azure import service 

The hard drives help you to move a large amount of unstructured data to your stored data.

  • BlobFuse

BlobFuse uses the Linux file system. This virtual file system allows you to access the data already present in the existing block Blob.

  • Azure data box

If you want to transfer large data sets or on-premises data, it can be done via the Azure data box.

  • Azure data factory

With the help of the Azure data factory, data can be picked up from the Blob Storage via account key, shared access signature, a service principal, or manage identity for Azure resources.

  • AzCopy

It is one of the effortless command lines. It helps you copy data to and from the Blob Storage, from the storage account and across the container.

Pros of Azure Blob Storage

  • Azure Blob Storage allows you to store a large amount of unstructured data.
  • All the tires of the Blob are economical and give you the best value for your money.
  • Gives you the different storage classes for each category, additionally, it helps in categorizing the data.
  • Azure Blob provides 99.99999…% durability.
  • Backup options of the Blob are enticing.
  • Does not require the management of the operating system and hardware. With minimal management, it can replace an on premises server.
  • The automation of Blob is super easy and it is possible by using simple tools.

Cons of Azure Blob Storage

  • The different storage plans could be costly for new users.
  • There is no automated backup for the Azure files.
  • One of the significant disadvantages is that it does not support direct attached storage. 

Next with Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference? is time to learn about Azure File Storage.

What is Azure File Storage?

Unlike the Azure Blob Storage, the File Storage allows the cloud share of the fully managed file and these files should be accessible with the industry standard SMB. The main difference between Blob Storage and the File Storage is the form of data. Azure File Storage allows only structured data.

Azure storage is like; you have a file on premises, but you don’t need to care about it because Microsoft will take care of it. Moreover, you can nest files and folders within other files and folders for better alignment.

File Storage is accessible and universal. It allows you to mount file share to any compatible operating system; Linux and macOS, and NFS for Linux and macOS. The REST API also allows programmatic access through the FILEREST API via http/https.

The most notable things about Azure File Storage are that you can access the file anywhere in the world. Using the URL of the file must include the Share Access Signature (SAS). SAS helps to create specific access for a particular time. 

Azure File Storage Use Cases

Deployment and testing – it can be used to create a centralized repository for code and used during deployment and testing. 

Monitoring and analytics – File Storage allows you to centralize metrics and log files for metering and managing the analytics tool. 

Application share – File Storage act as a centralized file share for the for configuration files and application data. However, the one limitation is that it only supports SMB access

File servers with the help of Azure storage sync, you got the potential to replicate data on premises and for increasing performance and distributed caching. 

Lift and shift migration – lift and shift migration allow you to migrate either data and application or both “as-is” by supporting the current protocols. 

File Storage is the best platform. If you want to share files among several machines or users, Azure File Storage is handy for a wide variety of workloads. Millions of users are using the Azure file share in their daily routines, like Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft OneDrive. It allows the storage of documents, videos, and databases for analytics and much more.

Features of Azure File Storage

Snapshots – Azure File Storage has the feature of a point in time snapshots of the file. These snapshots can be used for various purposes; however, the most significant use of these snapshots is for data loss protection and backups. 

Tired storage – the central purpose of tiring storage is to make data available for the users as quickly as possible. You can locally cache the frequently used files while the less frequently used files remain in the folder. 

Managed service – Azure File Storage is a fully managed network. You don’t need to configure and maintain the infrastructure. 

Redundancy – it offers geo redundancy by storing your data in various data centers. And it is offering 99.999999999% durability of data. 

Quick and easy APIs – Azure File Storage offers the quickest and simplest APIs. It includes; Azure Storage REST APIs and Azure Storage Client Libraries. 

Automation – like the APIs, the automation of Azure File Storage is also super easy and it can be done with the help of PowerShell and Azure CLI

Pros of Azure File Storage

  • File Storage is an easy, fast and convenient application for storing and keeping your data safe for longer durations. 
  • Additionally offers you File Storage on a separate LAN-connected storage device and an additional level of data protection and disaster recovery
  • Also affordable. It allows you to shift data from expensive hardware to an affordable LAN-connected ted storage device. 
  • Greatest adaptability. And it can be integrated with several tools, libraries, and APIs. 
  • High scalability and can scale the resource up to 100TB. 
  • The most significant advantage of the Azure File Storage is accessibility. The data is accessible from anywhere using the SMB or REST.

Cons of Azure File Storage

  • Azure File Storage has performance related issues. It offers 60MB\s throughput. The premium plans have fewer issues, but you have to pay extra dollars. 
  • The files have a limit of 5TB for the storage account and you can create up to 20 storage accounts. The storage is pretty good. However, for the enterprise storage might be the biggest concern.

Next with Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference? is to compare both storage tools.

Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage - Differences


Both the Azure Blob Storage and the Azure File Storage offer different tiering. However, the tiers are different from each other. The Azure Blob has hot, cool, and archive tiers, while the Azure File Storage has a premium, transaction optimized, hot, and cool tiers. In Azure File Storage, there is no archive tier. 


How about Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference? with regards to authentication? Both the Azure Blob, and the Azure File Storage share the same authentication protocols and include; SAS token, storage access key, and Azure AD integration. However, there is no different authentication level. Azure Blob uses anonymous public read access while Azure file service uses the on-premises active directory access that is synced with the Azure AD

Maximum Storage Size Share

Azure Blob Storage allows 500TN per file share, while File Storage allows 100TiB per file. Azure Blobs are of two types; block and page. The max block is 200 TiB and the max page is 8TiB. 


Azure Blob has Blob encryption policy, along with an Azure key vault. While the File Storage has built in encryption in the SMB 3.0 protocol. Both the Azure Blob and File Storage use cross origin source sharing. 


Both the Azure file and Blob Storage offer different levels of scalability. In the File Storage, the peak level for the representation for capacity is shared, while in the Blob Storage, the highest level is in containers

Pricing and Folder Structure

Azure File Storage and Blob Storage offer the same level of redundancy, but Azure Blob Storage is cheaper than File Storage. Azure File Storage provides the folder for the data storage, while Azure Blob Storage does not provide the folder. They give a flat structure for data storage. 

Use Cases

Azure Blob Storage has different types of data storage that include – serving images, videos and documents directly from the browser. Storing the file for one click access is a good and reliable source for backup files, archiving, and disaster recovery

With File Storage, you can replace or supplement on premises file servers. One can also share network to cloud with lift and shift applications. It also enhances the uptime of your network share. It maintains the windows file share and removes the need for the patch. 

Thank you for reading Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage – What’s the Difference? it is time to conclude. 

Azure Blob Storage vs File Storage - What's the Difference? Conclusion

We think the difference between the Azure Blob Storage and the File Storage is pretty clear. As far as choosing the best one among them is concerned, the choice of the best depends on your use case scenario. 

Azure Blob Storage has off shelf capabilities and it is the best option for you if you want the economic solution of storing an extensive amount of data. But if you want to do lift and shift activities, you need to shift towards the Azure File Storage. It provides the provision of your file shares that other users can operate. Both Azure storage solutions can be used together to give the best storage options to large enterprises. 

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Avatar for Farhan Yousuf
Farhan Yousuf

I am a content writer with more than five years of experience in the field. I have written for a variety of industries, and I am highly interested in learning new things. I have a knack for writing engaging copy that captures the reader's attention. In my spare time, I like to read and travel.

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