How to view and change access tiers for blobs and file shares of your Azure storage account

How to view and change access tiers for blobs and file shares of your Azure storage account

Introduction

This will be a short documenting article where I demonstrate how to change the access tiers for blobs and file shares using Azure PowerShell and Azure CLI.

Content

  • How to view the storage accounts performance SKU with Azure PowerShell and Azure CLI
  • How to view and change the default blob access tier with Azure PowerShell and Azure CLI
  • How to view and change the access tier for specific blobs with Azure PowerShell and Azure CLI
  • How to view and change the access tier of a file share with Azure PowerShell and Azure CLI

View the storage account performance SKU

When creating a new storage account, you can choose between Standard, which uses magnetic drives, and Performance, which makes use of much faster SSD drives. This decision can't be changed after the account has been created.

🔎 A storage accounts performance SKU can't be changed after it got created!

To view the current SKU you can use Azure PowerShell...

(Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <group> -Name <name>).Sku

Name         : Standard_LRS
Tier         : Standard
ResourceType :
Kind         :
Locations    :
Capabilities :
Restrictions :
Display the storage accounts performance SKU using Azure PowerShell

... or Azure CLI...

az storage account show --resource-group <group> --name <name> --query sku

{
  "name": "Standard_LRS",
  "tier": "Standard"
}
Display the performance SKU of an Azure storage account Azure CLI

Of course, you can find the information in the portal as well...

Blob Storage Access Tier

When uploading a block blob you can choose between Hot, Cool and the Archive tier. If not explicitly set, the default is inferred from the setting that was made when creating the storage account. However, Archive can only be set on the blob level and not on the account.

Blob storage default access tier

Changing the default blob access tier

To see which default access tier was set when the account was created:

(Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <group> -Name <name>).AccessTier
Hot
Azure PowerShell
az storage account show --resource-group <group> --name <name> --query accessTier
"Hot"
Azure CLI

To actually change the default access tier...

Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <group> -Name <name> | Set-AzStorageAccount -AccessTier Cool 
Changing the default access tier with Azure PowerShell
az storage account update --access-tier "Cool" --name <name> --resource-group <group> 
Change the default access with Azure CLI

or alternatively use the Azure Portal

Changing the access tier of specific blobs

To change the access tier of a specific blob, you can first list them with az storage blob list ...

az storage blob list --connection-string "<conn-string>" --container-name demo --query "[].{Blob:name, Tier:properties.blobTier}"
[
  {
    "Blob": "test.txt",
    "Tier": "Cool"
  },
  {
    "Blob": "test1.txt",
    "Tier": "Hot"
  }
]
Listing blobs and their tiers with Azure CLI

... and than change the tier with az storage blob set-tier...

az storage blob set-tier --connection-string "<conn-string>" --container-name demo --name test.txt --tier Hot
Changing specifc blob tiers with Azure CLI

The same using Azure PowerShell. To list the blobs and their access tiers

Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <rg> -Name <account> | Get-AzStorageBlob -Container demo | Select-Object Name, AccessTier

Name      AccessTier
----      ----------
test.txt  Hot
test1.txt Hot
Listing blobs and their tiers with Azure PowerShell

And than to change a specific blob use...

$account = Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <rg> -Name <account> 
$blob = $account | Get-AzStorageBlob -Container demo -Name test.txt 

$blob.ICloudBlob.SetStandardBlobTier("Cool")
Changing specific blob tiers with Azure PowerShell

File Share Tier

When creating a share, you can choose between Premium, Transaction Optimized, Hot, and Cold tiers. Where Cold is the cheapest and Premium the most expensive tier. Let's have a quick look at when we should use which:

  • Cold is optimized for online archive storage scenarios
  • Hot is optimized for general-purpose file-sharing scenarios such as team shares and Azure File Sync.
  • Transaction optimized is great for applications that require file storage as a backend store. It enables transactions-heavy workloads that don't need premium-level latency.
  • Premium is best if you require the lowest possible latencies and is only available if your Storage Account is also of type Premium (SSD-backed storage)

In case you went for the wrong tier, let's see how we can change it afterward.

Changing the access tier of a file share

First, to see the current access tier in use you can issue:

Get-AzRmStorageShare -ResourceGroupName <group> -StorageAccountName <account> -Name <share-name>

Then finally to change the access tier, we need to pipe the output to the Update-AzRmStorageShare Cmdlet. In the following case, we are switching from TransactionOptimized to Hot.

Get-AzRmStorageShare -ResourceGroupName <group> -StorageAccountName <account> -Name <share> | Update-AzRmStorageShare -AccessTier Hot

Conclusion

That was a quick run down on how we change the access tiers of blobs and file shares to save money or change the configuration to better fit our requirements.

  • Performance SKU of a storage account can't be changed after creation
  • The Archive access tier can not be set as the default tier  
  • Access tiers can be configured on individual blobs
  • Creating a new file share defaults to Transaction optimizied, which is, for regular file sharing needs, too expensive. Go with Hot instead
  • To be able to use the Premium access tier on a file share, the storage account performance SKU must be of Premium as well

Thanks for reading and happy hacking 👨🏻‍💻

Further reading

Azure Files documentation
Mount file shares in the cloud or on-premises on Windows, Linux, and macOS. Cache Azure file shares on Windows Servers with Azure File Sync for local access.
Install the Azure Az PowerShell module
How to install the Azure Az PowerShell module from the PowerShell Gallery
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