Blob Storage to PowerBI part 1: Creation of Blob storage

To start our Azure journey the first step that we would need to do is create a Blob storage account. You can think of Blob storage as a massive repository that will house any number of files. Microsoft provides the following definition:

Azure blob storage
Microsoft definition for Azure Blob storage

For a more detailed answer please check out the Introduction to Azure Storage document written by Microsoft.

For our purposes we can think of Blob storage as the account that will store the files that our business users will create and will also be used as a source for our Azure Data Factory pipeline. So lets get started!!!

First log into your Azure portal. You should see the following screen:

Azure portal
First page you will see when logging into Azure

After that you can do one of two things; either click on Storage Accounts or type in storage accounts in the search box at the top of the screen. Both will lead you to the same place, but search is useful if you are looking for a specific service that is not shown on the icons page.

Azure portal Storage account creation
Selecting Storage account directly

Azure portal Storage account creation
Or using the search functionality

In either case you will be taken to the Storage accounts page. At first glace you will not see any storage accounts as we have not created anything. To create a Storage account click on "+Add" in the top left corner.

Azure portal Storage account creation
Adding your first storage account.

After you click on the Add button you will be taken to the Storage creation page. We will keep most of the values default but I wanted to call out the following sections:

Azure portal Storage account creation
Blob storage creation page

The first thing you will notice is Subscription. Subscription can be thought of as the highest level of organizing your Azure projects. You can name a subscription group anything you want, but it is very useful to make it either generic enough for a department (Data Engineering, Data Science), or have it for a specific project (Data Warehouse migration project). This will depend largely on how your company structures its subscription groups.

The second line is called a resource group. These fall under a Subscription group and act as a way to group different Azure services that serve a specific purpose. For example: Data Warehouse migration project could have a resource group called "rg-finance-data-migration" or "rg-master-data-migration". Again the name does not really matter but it is better to have it be specific as it will be easier for you to remember what these services are used for and see the cost of your resources. (I will do a blog post later on how to view those.)

The next step is to name your storage account. Your storage account has to be unique across all of the Blob accounts that are in Azure so "blobaccount1" is probably taken. Another thing to keep in mind is that the name has to be in lowercase and cannot have any symbols (ex: blob-storage-account is not going to be recognized).

The next part would be location where you want your Blob storage to be spun up. This will depend largely where you reside. Since I live on the East coast I will choose the US East data center. As a rule you should always try to spin up resources (Blobs included) as close to where you plan to use this resource. You can choose any other region (West US, Central US) but the con of doing that is that if you live on the East coast, but you are using a data center on the West coast you will have latency since your file will take longer to travel from the West coast data center to your location on the East coast.

As for the rest of the settings you can keep them as default as they won't have much effect for our POC. For further reading please look at the Introduction to Azure Storage document written by Microsoft.

The only thing left to do is to click on "Review + Create" button to finish up. It will take a few seconds to validate your settings to make sure you don't have any restrictions.

Azure portal Storage account creation
The dreaded validation screen!!

Once you see the green check click on the "Create" button. It will take a few minutes for the Blob storage account to be created and once done you should see it in the storage account page that I showed in the beginning.

Azure portal Storage account creation

So now that you went through all of that process it is now time to actually load some data into your Blob storage account. In my next blog post I will show you how to upload it through the Azure portal and also by using Azure Data Explorer.