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Azure Files Sync Considerations - Part 1


Azure file sync is the offering of syncing file information from a file server to a storage account in the cloud. The file server becomes transformed into a local cache of information, and with policies in place, tiering will move older information to the cloud. By doing so, a file server can be extended dramatically.

To give a perspective of this scale, file shares provisioned in storage accounts have recently been adjusted based on the table below


Azure Files

Before (standard tier)

New (standard tier)

Capacity per share

5 TiB

100 TiB (20x increase)

Max IOPS per share

1,000 IOPS

10,000 IOPS (10x increase)

Max throughput per share

Up to 60 MiB/s

Up to 300 MiB/s (5x increase)

Table 1

Please note:  if you need a file share that is larger than 5 TiB, you will need to enable the large file share feature for your storage account. Premium file shares can span up to 100 TiB without any special setting, however premium file shares are provisioned.

Given the capability to have a virtual a file server with cloud tiering with 100 TiB per share, one of the first discussion points is when to use Azure Files Syncing in environments when Office 365 Teams (SharePoint and OneDrive for Business) have been adopted.

The reality is the Office 365 suite is designed for end user collaboration, while organizations might also have large archives of information that might need to warehouse with seldom use. An example of this would be archiving videos from events and the like.

Additionally in the past the character limit for SharePoint Online was also a daunting obstacle (256) though Microsoft in recent years has increased this to 400. This still poses an obstacle looking to migrate file server data to SharePoint online, which will force admins and other stake holders in the daunting task of:

  • Keeping limits to document library names
  • Restructuring folder structures as possible
    • This might also include planning on moving subsections of folder directories to their own document libraries, which will involve user education and communication.
  • Review and shortening the name of files

Therefore, if the company has:

  • A large mass of stale information
  • Lacks the time to perform analysis and plan restructuring of old file data
  • Lastly needs a means to extend its disk space (perpetually)

Then like the company is a solid candidate to explore Azure File Sync. By adopting this solution, a company cannot only extend its storage by leveraging the cloud, but no restructuring of files shares, and NTFS permissions would ever be required.

Part 2 of this series will examine backup considerations and compare malware scenarios in contrast to OneDrive for Business