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Microsoft Azure Block Storage OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft Azure Block Storage is #9 ranked solution in top Public Cloud Storage Services. IT Central Station users give Microsoft Azure Block Storage an average rating of 8 out of 10. Microsoft Azure Block Storage is most commonly compared to Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store):Microsoft Azure Block Storage vs Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store). The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 32% of all views.
What is Microsoft Azure Block Storage?

Massively scalable cloud storage for your applications

Store and help protect your data. Get durable, highly available data storage across the globe and pay only for what you use.

Microsoft Azure Block Storage was previously known as MS Azure Block Storage.

Microsoft Azure Block Storage Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft Azure Block Storage Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Microsoft Azure Block Storage Customers

Mazda, BlinkBox, Rakuten Showtime, Xbox One, Serko, ChronoDrive

Microsoft Azure Block Storage Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Microsoft Azure Block Storage pricing:
  • "For the first 50DB, they cost around $50. It's an open solution for everybody. Anybody can go to the Microsoft website and they can get the pricing for it. But the first 50GB of data is a default rate and then it increases for the next 500GB or something like that. It is a pay as you go solution. The more you use, the more you pay. That's normally how you pay for any cloud solutions."
  • "The solution is affordable, and we only pay for what we use."
  • "In terms of pricing, Azure is quite cheaper than AWS. However, I have recently read that Oracle Cloud Generation 2 storage is quite cheaper than Azure. I haven't used it yet. We need to look at a customer's requirements, and, based on that, we can suggest the storage. You can save at least 20% with Azure as compared to AWS, which is quite costly."

Microsoft Azure Block Storage Reviews

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KunalGupta
Vice President - Data Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Blob storage that is easy to use but is becoming obsolete with its company's new releases

Pros and Cons

  • "The product is very easy to use."
  • "There are some space limitations."
  • "The folder search capabilities are not really up to par."

What is our primary use case?

I think Azure has three versions. They have Block Blob Storage, then they also have the Gen1 and the Gen2 versions. Gen2 was kind of under review until just recently in 2020, but I think they have officially launched Gen2 now. Block Storage is an Azure product, but I am not sure if it has a version. I just know it as Azure Block Blob Storage.  

Our use case for Block Storage came about when we were building a database for one of our customers on public storage. The customer kept their data on-premises and on their own servers. We would get that data from them and put it into the Block Storage. So Block was being used as a file depository.  

What is most valuable?

I think there are several valuable features in the product. The security technically is good, but they require a lot of security rules to be set up. Even so, it was kind of easy to configure. So the security is good.  

I think the ease-of-use is also good because we can even upload files up from one machine onto other blob storage, another nice feature that is also provided. Apart from that, Azure also provides Azure Storage Explorer, which can be used to access Blob data once you map it onto a local machine.  

I think also its scalability is a good feature. You can put terabytes of data into Blob Storage. So that is also one of the beneficial features of Blob.  

What needs improvement?

Azure had the Blob version prior to Block. Azure also realized that Blob Storage did not really have any main space. So, that was a limitation of the Azure Blob product. But that is also the reason why they decided to develop the Gen2 version, which puts back all the right structure for the storage and capacity.  

So, it is good to explore Gen2 as another solution. I think most of the users would eventually move from Blob Storage to Gen2 only because of the space limitations of Blob.  

You also do not see the kind of folder search capability in Blob that you might expect. Like when you are in windows, you can just go to a particular folder and you can browse within that folder and you can go into subfolders and search there as well. That feature is kind of missing in the Blob product.  

So the inability to easily search subfolders and also the space limitation of Blob are really the biggest limitations of the product.  

What I would like to see in the next release — and I am not really sure if it is possible in cloud solutions — but it would be nice to provide a feature for being able to distribute large files.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I was using Azure Block Storage for almost all of 2019.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think it a stable product.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable.  

I think our team that worked on the Blob project was about ten members. That company was would qualify as a large company itself. This was a new solution that we were going to build for the company. I would say the size of their team was smaller than ours, but in terms of the team size and what they needed for maintenance, I think Azure Block was an adequate product to use.  

We had one admin on the team which is kind of required to set it up because of the security aspect. But I think Azure Block can be set up by just the developer alone. The main users of Azure Blob are always mostly developers and testers.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I have had only one experience with Azure technical support and that was not for Blob. It was something else. But I am still really in touch with Azure support. I had put a call over there pending for a priority-one ticket. They have continued calling me to see if things are going okay and they are very friendly. So I would say I could definitely rate their technical support as nine-out-of-ten.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

When we approached the project for the client who we first deployed Block Storage for, this was a new platform for this customer. We looked at new opportunities. Prior to this, I used Hadoop. I was not the biggest consumer of the product but gained enough experience while using Hadoop as a file storage solution to see enough to know that setting it up takes a while. It was not very user-friendly. Azure is not even comparable because it is very user-friendly.  

How was the initial setup?

Azure Blob Storage is very straightforward to setup. It is just about setting up a storage account, putting in a container, and that is all. It is pretty easy. It really takes just a few minutes.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have been looking into data warehousing technology for quite some time. I have experience on Teradata and I have experience on Azure. I have used Azure Data Factory and I have used Azure Databricks. I have been happy with the Azure products so this has played into my decisions.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice I would give people about Block Storage is that I might recommend the product based upon the use cases and storage needs. Otherwise, if they are looking for something more robust, I would recommend using the Gen2 version, which is the biggest storage system of the Azure options.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Microsoft Azure Block Storage as at least seven-out-of-ten. This is a seven primarily because of this Gen2 release. When it comes down to it, Gen2 is a more advanced product and other than when it comes to the price most of the users will not see Block Storage as a better solution.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
Anurag-Singh
Senior Specialist Data Science Architecture at Diageo North America
Real User
Top 5
It is easy to use and has significantly reduced our costs

Pros and Cons

  • "The tier feature in V2 is the most valuable feature of this solution. It enables you to move your storage from hot tier to cold tier into archive tier."
  • "We don't delete the other tools from the folder directly. There's no folder deletion option in Azure Block Storage. It would be nice if they could update this."

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a storage backend for our analytical use cases and we do modeling in the Azure Databricks environment. We store huge chunks of data in terms of terabytes. We use this data to gain insights into our modeling platform. We find it cheaper than storing it on-premise. And it does not require infrastructure maintenance.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved my organization by reducing costs by 90%. There's still no infrastructure engineering involved for the maintenance and it's easy to use.

What is most valuable?

The tier feature in V2 is the most valuable feature of this solution. It enables you to move your storage from hot tier to cold tier into archive tier.

That is one of the features I liked it better than a version V1 because V1did not have this feature.version. Because of it, we can save costs on storage.

What needs improvement?

There is a folder inside the block storage. I am not able to delete the folder completely from the portal. I need to go delete the file inside and then I will be able to delete the folders.

We don't delete the other tools from the folder directly. There's no folder deletion option in Azure Block Storage. It would be nice if they could update this. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Block Storage for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any problems with stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a pretty simple solution and it scales up automatically when the data size goes up. It scales up and the costs increase accordingly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We did the deployment ourselves. They have good online documentation.  Producing the storage account took about 10 minutes max. The overall configuration took maybe 10 minutes. To make it work properly took around one hour.

It only took one person to deploy it.

Most of the users use it as the default storage. We have close to 1,000 users using this solution.  

It requires one person per team to maintain it. so maybe one person per team, it would be a maximum of a hundred people. 

It's used across the organization by the technology team and the data science team. We're not looking to expand the usage because I feel that at least this part of the solution has reached the desired audience.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is that it has reduced our costs by 90%.

The amount for storage we used to pay $1,000 per month, now we only pay around $10.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For the first 50DB, they cost around $50. 

It's an open solution for everybody. Anybody can go to the Microsoft website and they can get the pricing for it. But the first 50GB of data is a default rate and then it increases for the next 500GB or something like that.

It is a pay as you go solution. The more you use, the more you pay. That's normally how you pay for any cloud solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated Amazon, AWS, Microsoft, and Google cloud.

What other advice do I have?

You will need high-speed bandwidth internet and a contact center for Microsoft for billing purposes. It is kind of a drag and drop and it is pretty simple to use. There is a small learning curve. 

If you create a folder at least one sample file has to be there. So sometimes it becomes irrelevant because unnecessarily I put a normal dummy file. And then from tomorrow onwards when the data starts doing it I delete the dummy file when the actual data is there. I find that pretty cumbersome. In the next release, I would like for them to update this.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is that Microsoft solutions are easy to use. 

I would rate it a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Azure Block Storage. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,382 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Mir Khan
Head Of Information Technology at DHS
Real User
Top 10
Easy to deploy and to scale up, but availability can be a challenge

Pros and Cons

  • "It's easy to deploy, easy to scale up, and pay-as-you-go."
  • "One of the biggest challenges on Azure infrastructure is that sometimes we don't get what we want. Either we have to wait for it or contact support because something is not working for us... It's the system availability that is the difficult point."

What is our primary use case?

We are creating VMs for some of our development testing, and we are using Azure Block Storage in that context. We are not using anything from Azure for production systems. We are just using it for staging and development.

What is most valuable?

Azure Block Storage is

  • easy to deploy
  • easy to scale up
  • pay-as-you-go. 

So whenever we need something, we use it.

What needs improvement?

One of the biggest challenges on Azure infrastructure is that sometimes we don't get what we want. Either we have to wait for it or contact support because something is not working for us. Most of the time it works fine. But sometimes, when we want something critical, apart from block storage — we want to increase the capacity of the VM or we want to increase the cores of the VM — we have to wait. We get a response from Microsoft from a North American location. We want to host everything within the UAE. But we are redirected through North America or Europe. That is a challenge with Azure. It's the system availability that is the difficult point.

Also, billing is an issue. We have had a lot of problems when it comes to billing. We started working with minimal resources and we opted for pay-as-you-go mode. Microsoft needs to invest in some resources to improve the billing part. It's not about the money, but the visibility. I see a lot of invoices, but I don't see whether we have paid them or not. And if we have paid, I don't see when it was paid and through which credit card or account we paid. I see invoices, but I don't see the information related to those invoices.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Block Storage for less than a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Availability is sometimes an issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support, overall, is good. The response is very good. We don't have any issue with that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have our own data center and we use its storage system. But we want to upgrade that because it's not fulfilling our current requirements and we don't see it fulfilling our future requirements either. We have a need to upgrade our system.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, we had some issues but we were not trained. We were used to the legacy environment, so we had challenges. But anyone who has technical knowledge will be able to set it up and understand it, once they start reading about how to set it up and how to use it. 

There are a few challenges, especially when we are setting up block storage or setting up the network. There are complexities of the network environment, such as creating the virtual networks, etc. It's complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We started looking at Dell EMC and some other solutions such as QNAP. We are evaluating them.

What other advice do I have?

We have our own team to maintain it. We are still trying to add more resources to the team and trying to find someone who Azure will certify.

I would recommend Azure Block Storage so far, per my current usage, but I would also highly recommend learning how it works and how to configure it properly. Block Storage, in particular, is a bit confusing. People who do not have proper knowledge should not try R&D with it. I would highly recommend getting professional support if you really want to use it. The solution is very good, but the configuration and initial implementation should be done by professionals.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PH
Product Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Reseller
Top 5
Has a good infrastructure and offers an easy way to provide workloads

Pros and Cons

  • "One can easily scale with this program."
  • "Some big customers have experienced some problems with the stability of the Azure cloud."

What is our primary use case?

Our customers basically use this program for virtual data center extension, as a hybrid extension of their local or on-prem or private data center. It offers them an automated way of running new workloads or creating new workloads with governance on it.

What is most valuable?

The reason why people choose this solution is that it has a good infrastructure. It also offers an easy way to provide workloads. We mainly use this solution for the development, testing, and production of our data and infrastructure in a standardized way. I also like the fact that the deployment is fast.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see an improvement in the networking and cost transparency part. What I mean by this, is that we provide certain workflows for our customers and we usually calculate what is local, but even then it's not really upfront. We must know what the usage will be in DMs. So the price is different, and that is where provisioning and cost transparency comes in. We must know what it will cost in the OPEX work that we do. We do have some cost analysis, overdose cloud, but still, it's not always the right amount that's reflected for our customers for each application or each analysis that they want to do. The invoice type is therefore different for each client.

For how long have I used the solution?

The company I work for has been using Microsoft Azure Block Storage for two to three years and I've been using it for almost a year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Most customers are happy with the stability. Some bigger customers, however, have experienced problems with the stability of the Azure cloud. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

One can easily scale with this program so I am satisfied with the scalability. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used customer service before.

How was the initial setup?

Our setup is rather complex. It is easier for our customers - they simply get the tenants in our products and within the tenants, we just plug in all the drivers on-prem and then he gets a complete insight of the overall workload. 

I am, however, not involved in the installation. Another difficult thing is to create a good architecture that's strong on networking and that will enable customers to deploy or provide all those different environments in an easy way. So the thinking is critical, and architecture is very important, which is kind of complex. 

Deployment takes between two to five days, depending on the customer and the speed on the cloud.

We have a power desk with three people who are responsible for support and maintenance, customer queries, etc. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is affordable and we only pay for what we use. There are additional costs for backup and disaster management and we use separate products as service providers.

What other advice do I have?

I personally feel that this is a good program. My advice to others is that they should determine beforehand what they want to use it for. The biggest lesson I've learned so far is that, if you go to the backup part, you have to be careful about how you do the backups and what the retention times are. 

I would like to see improved file sharing and better security in the next release. 

On a scale from one to ten, I will rate this program an eight. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
AG
Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Top 10
Easily accessible and good for archiving data, but expensive to use

Pros and Cons

  • "You can easily access your data whenever you need it."
  • "Uploading of data could be improved. Currently, the only way you can upload your data is by using their storage explorer. You need to use a command line to do that. Then, maybe you can go online and you can use their explorer to check to see if it's there. If they had a third-party application to handle the upload, it would be better. Many people aren't familiar with command lines for uploading data. It makes it more difficult for many users."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for migration to restore data and to help us migrate to other systems. I do occasionally also use it as a backup, but not very often. Mostly, it's used for migration and we installed Microsoft on it. We store it in the cloud and migrate everything over.

What is most valuable?

The solution offers tiers of storage, depending on what we want to do. 

If I want to store my data for a very long period of time and I know that I'm going to archive it, I just do the archive.

You can easily access your data whenever you need it.

What needs improvement?

Uploading of data could be improved. Currently, the only way you can upload your data is by using their storage explorer. You need to use a command line to do that. Then, maybe you can go online and you can use their explorer to check to see if it's there. If they had a third-party application to handle the upload, it would be better. Many people aren't familiar with command lines for uploading data. It makes it more difficult for many users.

The pricing is a bit high.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a year or two.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. I'd say it's 99.9% stable. Microsoft is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe it is possible to scale the solution, although I haven't tried to yet personally.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's been a long time since I've contacted technical support, but I did reach out once when I was having latency issues. I contacted them and they were able to resolve the issue. When you reach out to them for assistance, they call you immediately.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I didn't previously use a different solution. My email was hosted on Microsoft, so I moved to Azure.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's not very complicated. We handled the deployment in stages. It took, at maximum, just over a week.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is pay-as-you-go, so it runs on credit. The more storage a company has, the more they pay. If you are putting data into an archive, it doesn't cost too much, but if you need to access it, the price may be a bit high.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a Microsoft partner and I deploy the solution for other customers.

Currently, I'm the only user on the solution. I don't use it every day; I use it only when I need to.

The solution is quite good and is easy to integrate with other systems, You can also integrate it as a backup for your recordings.

It's also easily accessible and, because it's on the cloud, it doesn't matter where your current location is. It allows for easy replication of data on different levels. 

For these reasons, I'd recommend the product. I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. It's a bit expensive. If it was more reasonably priced I'd rate it higher.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
SJ
Director - Infrastructure Solution Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
It provides easy versioning and great security

Pros and Cons

  • "It has easy versioning. The versioning is amenable to any changes. It also has great security. It can only be accessed through an API, and only the requested users can access it. It is optimized for data lakes and comprehensive data management."
  • "We need to do versioning each and every time, that is, check-in and check-out. If a person forgets to do that, then there could be an issue in the replacement of that particular object in the storage. It will be great if it can be automatically managed."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Microsoft Azure Block Storage to accumulate and store all unstructured data, that is, different files such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, or any other streaming or video files. Whenever there is any unstructured data, you can use the Microsoft Azure Block Storage to deal with it.

What is most valuable?

It has easy versioning. The versioning is amenable to any changes. 

It also has great security. It can only be accessed through an API, and only the requested users can access it. It is optimized for data lakes and comprehensive data management.

What needs improvement?

We need to do versioning each and every time, that is, check-in and check-out. If a person forgets to do that, then there could be an issue in the replacement of that particular object in the storage. It will be great if it can be automatically managed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for the last two to three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are absolutely no issues. They're really great at stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has great scalability.

How was the initial setup?

It is quite straightforward. You can set it up even when you don't know much about it. You log into Azure.com, which is free for one year, and take a virtual machine and storage and then run your own website through Microsoft Azure Block Storage. You can store your image files, videos, and other document files from there. It is very easy. Oracle Cloud and AWS also provide the same ease of use, not only Azure.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In terms of pricing, Azure is quite cheaper than AWS. However, I have recently read that Oracle Cloud Generation 2 storage is quite cheaper than Azure. I haven't used it yet. 

We need to look at a customer's requirements, and, based on that, we can suggest the storage. You can save at least 20% with Azure as compared to AWS, which is quite costly.

What other advice do I have?

I have worked on similar solutions from Oracle and Amazon. Feature-wise, they all provide the same features. However, I found Azure more convenient to work on than other solutions. It is very easy to use for data analytics purposes as well as for storing the archive data or long-term use data, that is, non-relational and unstructured data.

I would rate Microsoft Azure Block Storage a ten out of ten. It is really good.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
CF
Co-Founder at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
The data lake is invaluable and it has a smooth setup

Pros and Cons

  • "The data lake is invaluable. We also use Microsoft SQL in terms of structuring the data and getting into a position where it could be useful to support reporting. We Databricks for data science. We incorporated Databricks with that as well."
  • "In terms of improvement, it could use better integration with non-propriety tools. Azure pushes you down a data factory road for integrations but data factory isn't always a scalable, viable solution, particularly when using large numbers ofconnections to IoT solutions."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for the creation of a data lake, which was looking at unstructured predominantly in big data storage, it is looking at an economical solution. This was then used in conjunction with an SAP BW solution pulling and using SAP data hub to thencreate a single ecosystem of data.

What is most valuable?

The data lake is invaluable. We also use Microsoft SQL in terms of structuring the data and getting into a position where it could be useful to support reporting. We use Databricks for data science. We incorporated Databricks with that as well.

What needs improvement?

In terms of improvement, it could use better integration with non-propriety tools. Azure pushes you down a data factory road for integrations but data factory isn't always a scalable, viable solution, particularly when using large numbers ofconnections to IoT solutions. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft Azure Block Storage for around a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We don't have any issues with stability. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't needed to contact customer support. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was smooth and straightforward. The deployment took very little time. The main time frame taken was on the SAP side. We put SAP on the Azure cloud which took some time. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. 

Think about your file structure to make sure you get it right. Management of the business is important because if the business starts pushing data into it in can turn into a data swamp.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
NK
Senior IT Manager at a pharma/biotech company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to integrate, stable, and scalable, but should be easier to deploy

What is our primary use case?

We are currently using it for POC. It is not yet live. The data storage is pulling the data. We have the latest version of this solution.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to integrate with applications.

What needs improvement?

It should be easier to deploy.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. Currently, we have three or four users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is fine.

How was the initial setup?

Its installation is okay. It takes around one hour.

What about the implementation team?

It was done by me.…

What is our primary use case?

We are currently using it for POC. It is not yet live. The data storage is pulling the data.

We have the latest version of this solution.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to integrate with applications.

What needs improvement?

It should be easier to deploy.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. Currently, we have three or four users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is fine.

How was the initial setup?

Its installation is okay. It takes around one hour.

What about the implementation team?

It was done by me. Sometimes, it is also done by a third party.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution. I would rate Microsoft Azure Block Storage a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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