One of the most fundamental benefits of cloud computing is the ability to create an off-premise storage capacity that is accessible to an entire enterprise at any time from anywhere. Whether your business stores enterprise-critical data or general images for your website, having reliable access, supported by the proper backup and redundancy procedures, is vital.

Depending on your current business needs, storage options in Microsoft Azure are available in several different forms, including general purpose storage accounts and blog storage accounts. Each of the storage accounts also includes redundancy options that can give your business better than 99.99% reliable access.

Creating and configuring a storage account using the Microsoft Azure Portal can be accomplished with a few mouse-clicks. System administrators may also opt to create and configure storage accounts with PowerShell or Azure CLI. This how-to tutorial shows you how to create and configure a storage account with the Azure Portal.

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Create an Azure storage account

The outlined procedure assumes you have an active Microsoft Azure account. Log in to your Azure account and navigate to the Home page. Click on the storage accounts link in the left-hand navigation bar to reach the screen shown in Figure A.

Click the + Add button to start a new storage account (Figure B). Choose the appropriate subscription account and resource group, and then chose a unique name for your new storage account. Remember, you will likely have to type this name to access the storage account, so make it something reasonable.

Next (Figure C) choose the location for your server based on your geographical location (closer is better) and then choose a level of service, standard, or premium. The standard setting should be fine for most use cases. For the account kind configuration setting, Microsoft recommends the StorageV2 setting for most applications. StorageV1 is deprecated, and you should only use BlobStorage if your business needs it.

The next configuration setting is for replication, and, unlike the previous settings, this decision can increase the overall cost of your storage account tremendously. If the data you will be storing is business-critical and cannot be lost or inaccessible at any time, then you should opt for the more reliable Geo-redundant storage (GRS) setting. If the data destined for your Azure storage account can be replicated from other sources, then the much less expensive Locally redundant storage (LRS) should be chosen.

For comparison purposes, consider Figure D. A storage account configured for 10GB using the LRS setting will cost your enterprise a mere $.63/month. Whereas, the same 10GB of storage using the GRS setting will cost $21.05/month.

The last setting on the configuration page allows you to choose an access tier. Choose the Hot setting for data that will be accessed frequently. Likewise, choose the Cool setting for data that will be accessed infrequently.

When you have made all of your configuration settings click the Review + Create button to move to the next step. You can review your settings (Figure E) before you click the Create button to complete the process.

Deployment of your new Azure storage account will take a few minutes. When deployment is complete, you may access your storage account through the Azure Portal.