Data Security on Azure – Part 1

Posted: June 18, 2011 in Uncategorized, Windows Azure

Windows azure has 3 types of storage: Windows Azure storage, Windows Azure App Fabrics Caching and SQL Azure. All the data hosted on the cloud is replicated automatically 3 times. Windows Azure has an automatic failover and load balancing, once one these replicates has a hardware failure or facing any problems, a second node is marked as primary and another replicate is created to maintain the high availability and stability (you will always have 3 replicates on Azure).

To go further in the Windows Azure storage security, we have to understand how the application on Azure is run. The cloud has a different point of view than the application hosted and running on a single on premises server. On Azure, storage is independent. It is hosted on separate hardware than the compute hardware where the application runs. The Azure storage always needs an SSL whether from the different nodes on Azure or from on premises servers, it doesn’t trust any kind of connection. So to get the most secure connection the top layer of the storage architecture layers: validates, authenticates and authorizes the connections and the users trying to connect to the storage and then navigate them to the other layers where the data are stored. To prevent the interaction between the data stored on the cloud, Windows Azure has made physical and logical separations.

For the app fabric caching and Windows Azure storage their owner is provided an access key which is named some time the secret key, with what he is granted the full control on his cloud storage. For the SQL Azure it implements the same concepts of SQL access control with a connection string that contains a username and password.

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