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Programming Windows Azure by Sriram Krishnan

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Chapter 8. Blobs

Author William Gibson once wrote a short story titled “Johnny Mnemonic” that appeared in a 1981 issue of Omni magazine. The story centers on the premise that the human brain is one of nature’s best storage devices. It has incredibly small seek latencies, and can store almost infinite amounts of data, meaning, of course, that you could potentially use your brain as like a giant hard disk.

In the story, Johnny Mnemonic is a “data trafficker,” someone who has undergone cybernetic surgery and can carry digital data in his head. Instead of sending sensitive data over the Internet, you would send Johnny physically to the receiver, who would then pull data out of Johnny’s head by using a password that only the receiver would know.

The idea of a near-infinite storage device is alluring: stick data in all the time and don’t worry about running out of capacity. Even better, with Johnny Mnemonic, you would know your data is protected (in this case, by the password mechanism), and you would have the inherent physical security of Johnny not being connected to the Internet.

That is blob storage in a nutshell: having infinite space to store any kind of data. This chapter leaves the fictional world of Johnny Mnemonic and introduces you to the infinite possibilities associated with blob storage in the real world of Azure.

Understanding the Blob Service

Blobs by themselves are quite dumb and boring to anyone not interested in the cloud. A blob is a binary large object. It is any arbitrary ...

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