Category Archives: Azure Hybrid

Beyond traditional SAN: Azure Elastic SAN and the new era of cloud storage

Microsoft has recently unveiled Azure Elastic SAN, a groundbreaking offering in the cloud computing sector, marking the debut of the first fully managed, cloud-native Storage Area Network (SAN) solution. This initiative aims to radically transform how SANs are deployed, managed, and configured within the cloud ecosystem, promising to revolutionize current practices. Indeed, Azure Elastic SAN stands as a turning point for organizations looking to simplify and optimize the transition of their SAN infrastructures to the cloud, ensuring an unprecedented level of operational efficiency. This article seeks to explore Azure Elastic SAN in detail, highlighting its main innovations, such as the adoption of a resource hierarchy inspired by traditional SANs and the ability to dynamically allocate resources to support a wide range of workloads, from databases and virtual desktop infrastructures to critical business applications. Specific use cases will also be analyzed, illustrating the flexibility and added value Azure Elastic SAN can provide, including advanced data security management and integration with other Azure solutions.

Features of Azure Elastic SAN

Azure Elastic SAN positions itself as a cutting-edge solution, designed to effectively meet the scalability, management, and security needs of modern storage infrastructures. Here are the key features of the solution:

  • Simplified Management: Azure Elastic SAN eliminates the complexity typically associated with configuring and managing a traditional SAN. It offers a fully managed environment, allowing administrators to focus on applications rather than the underlying infrastructure.
  • Dynamic Scalability: A key feature of Azure Elastic SAN is its ability to dynamically scale resources to meet the changing needs of workloads. This includes the ability to increase IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) and bandwidth without interruptions or downtime.
  • High Performance: The solution can support up to 80,000 IOPS per single volume and speeds up to 1,280 MBps. Azure Elastic SAN is designed for high-throughput and IOPS-intensive workloads, ensuring exceptional performance.
  • Security and Compliance: It implements advanced security measures, including server-side encryption with customer-managed keys and support for private endpoints, to ensure data is protected in accordance with company policies and industry regulations.
  • Integration with Azure Monitor and Azure Policy: Azure Elastic SAN integrates closely with other Azure services, such as Azure Monitor for monitoring performance and capacity metrics, and Azure Policy to prevent misconfigurations and potential incidents.

Azure Elastic SAN Resources

Azure Elastic SAN integrates two fundamental components into its architecture: Volume Groups and Volumes, essential for organizing and managing storage. These components work together to replicate the functionality and flexibility of a traditional on-premise SAN, while simultaneously simplifying provisioning and billing management directly from the cloud.

Architecture and Resource Mapping

The structure of Azure Elastic SAN serves as a virtual equivalent of a traditional SAN application, with a direct mapping of its resources to those of a physical SAN:

  • Elastic SAN: Acts as the heart of the infrastructure, similar to an on-premise SAN device, managing billing and provisioning operations.
  • Volume Groups: Function as network nodes, facilitating access and storage management.
  • Volumes: Correspond to the actual storage space, similarly to the physical volumes of an on-premise SAN.

Figure 1 – Relationship and Mapping of Resources of an Azure Elastic SAN to the Resources of an On-Premise SAN

Configuring Elastic SAN

Configuring an Elastic SAN involves determining the infrastructure’s redundancy and provisioning the storage. The configured storage’s capacity and performance define the SAN’s overall capabilities, directly affecting the capacity and performance available for each volume.

Volume Groups and Volumes

Volume Groups are management tools designed for the effective and centralized administration of multiple volumes. Settings and configurations applied to a group, such as virtual network rules, are automatically extended to all associated volumes, facilitating management and scalability.

Use Cases

Azure Elastic SAN stands out not only for its advanced technical features but also for its applicative versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of operational scenarios. Below, we will explore some of the most significant use cases where Azure Elastic SAN demonstrates its added value, highlighting how this solution can be the key to addressing complex challenges and optimizing operations in the cloud:

  • Optimizing SQL databases: Elastic SAN is ideal for databases like SQL Server, where high throughput and IOPS requirements are prevalent. It allows for avoiding oversizing Azure VMs, thus optimizing performance and reducing costs.
  • Facilitated migration from on-premises SAN to the cloud: Azure Elastic SAN eases the migration of on-premises SAN environments to the cloud, thanks to its IOPS and throughput capabilities, dynamically sharing performance across workloads.
  • Storage consolidation: Enables dynamic sharing of performance across volumes, facilitating the achievement of high performance efficiently and helping to prevent the oversizing necessary to manage traffic peaks.
  • Integration with Azure VMware Solution: Integration with Azure VMware Solution allows for expanding the storage capacity of the solution without needing to increase vSAN storage nodes. This is made possible by presenting an Elastic SAN volume as an external datastore.
  • Support for Azure Container Storage: Elastic SAN supports Azure Container Storage, leveraging the efficiency of the iSCSI protocol. This integration enables significant storage cost reductions through dynamic resource sharing.

For more details on the solution, Microsoft’s official documentation can be consulted, while pricing information can be found on the dedicated page.


Azure Elastic SAN represents a milestone in the landscape of cloud storage solutions, offering companies the opportunity to migrate their on-premises SAN environments to the cloud with unprecedented ease. Its introduction not only simplifies the management and scalability of SANs in the cloud but also opens up new opportunities for performance optimization and cost efficiency. With Azure Elastic SAN, organizations can now make the most of their high-throughput and IOPS-intensive workloads, consolidate storage, and achieve cost efficiency on a large scale, marking the beginning of a new era for cloud storage.