Updated: July 16, 2015
Microsoft Azure Storage is a massively scalable, highly available, and elastic cloud storage solution that empowers developers and IT professionals to build large-scale modern applications. Azure Storage is accessible from anywhere in the world, from any type of application, whether it’s running in the cloud, on the desktop, on an on-premises server, or on a mobile or tablet device. For an overview of Azure Storage, see Introduction to Microsoft Azure Storage.
An Azure storage account is a secure account that gives you access to services in Azure Storage. Your storage account provides the unique namespace for your storage resources. There are two types of storage accounts:
A standard storage account includes Blob, Table, Queue, and File storage. To create a standard storage account, see Create, manage, or delete a storage account.
A premium storage account currently supports Azure Virtual Machine disks only. Azure Premium Storage is available by request via the Azure Preview page.
For an in-depth overview of Azure Premium Storage, see Premium Storage: High-Performance Storage for Azure Virtual Machine Workloads.
Before you can create a storage account, you must have an Azure subscription, which is a plan that gives you access to a variety of Azure services. You can create up to 100 uniquely named storage accounts with a single subscription. See Storage Pricing Details for information on volume pricing.
You can get started with Azure with a free trial. Once you decide to purchase a plan, you can choose from a variety of purchase options. If you’re an MSDN subscriber, you get free monthly credits that you can use with Azure services, including Azure Storage.
The Azure Storage services are Blob storage, Table Storage, Queue Storage, and File Storage:
Blob Storage stores file data. A blob can be any type of text or binary data, such as a document, media file, or application installer.
Get Started with Blob Storage
Table Storage stores structured datasets. Table storage is a NoSQL key-attribute data store, which allows for rapid development and fast access to large quantities of data.
Get Started with Table Storage
Queue Storage provides reliable messaging for workflow processing and for communication between components of cloud services.
Get Started with Queue Storage
File storage (Preview) offers shared storage for legacy applications using the standard SMB 2.1 protocol. Azure virtual machines and cloud services can share file data across application components via mounted shares, and on-premise applications can access file data in a share via the File service REST API. File storage is available by request via the Azure Preview page.
Get Started with File Storage