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Home / Tips and Tricks / Getting started with Azure Storage Explorer – CloudSavvy IT

Getting started with Azure Storage Explorer – CloudSavvy IT



  azure blue logo

The Microsoft Azure environment has many functions and thus the need to be able to explore and manage the underlying storage infrastructure. There are many ways to do this, but one free tool provided by Microsoft is the Azure Storage Explorer (ASE).

Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, this GUI tool allows exploring and managing Azure blobs. files, queues and tables. In addition, it is possible to manage Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Data Lake Storage entities. In this article, we explore how to use the Azure Storage Explorer!

Azure Storage Explorer installation

Download the installation file from the Microsoft download site and run the installer. After accepting the license agreement, destination location and start menu location, you can start. This makes it a very quick and easy installation.

Connecting to Azure Storage

Once installed, the first step will be to connect to your existing Azure Storage. In this example, we use an Azure account and the default Azure environment.

 Connect to Azure Storage

Once Next is clicked, your login credentials will be requested and storage will be completed on the Explorer screen, as shown below.

 azure storage explorer

In this example, there are two available resources, Storage Accounts and Disks. Storage accounts are the generic containers for blogs and files. The disks are the underlying volumes associated with running virtual machines. In the explorer you can very easily communicate with both types.

Create a file share

Navigate to a storage account and after expanding the container, right click on File shares and choose Create file share. You will be asked to enter a name and it will be created immediately.

 create a file share in azure

As you can see the file share, demo share has been created and you can navigate the folder, upload files, delete files and inspect the information.

 azure demo share

Let's create a new folder using the new folder command. Once clicked, you will be asked to name the folder.

 azure create new directory

After creating the directory, double click the newly created directory to navigate it. Find a file to upload from your local disk and click Upload Files. Click the ... icon to locate the file to upload and your new folder will be pre-populated. Click Upload to add the file to the directory.

 azure upload files

Retrieve Retrieve Shared Signature

A common task is to create a Shared Access Signature (SAS) link. This type of link allows you to give a time and access a limited link for use by a person or program. Using the Azure Storage Explorer, creating these links is very easy. Right-click on the newly uploaded file and choose Get Shared Access Signature.

 azure get shared access signature

You will be prompted for a dialog box asking about the access policy, allowed access times and permissions to be assigned to this link.

 azure generate signature for shared access

After clicking Create you will get the URI and query string. Copying the URI will get both the URI and the Query String together.

 azure signature for shared access

An example of this type of link is shown below.


When the time has passed, you see an error like below, instead of accessing the file itself.  azure xml message

Configure CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) Rules

If you need to specify CORS rules you can do this quickly and easily on file shares, Blob containers, queues and tables . To do this, right-click on File Shares (for example) and choose Configure CORS Settings.

 Configure Azure Corset Settings

You will see a dialog box where you can enter up to five (5) CORS lines. Below is an example of adding a CORS rule.

 azure add cors rule

As you can see, the CORS rules are specific to the allowed origin.

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Tables

If you need to work with tables within Azure Storage Explorer, this is very easy to do. Navigate to a storage account and the Tables section. Find a table or create a new one. Within a table you have a number of options to manipulate the table.

 Example of Azure Tables

  • Query
  • Import / Export
  • Add / Edit / Delete
  • Table Statistics ] (recalculate)

With the Add command you can both add a row (entity) to the table or property itself. To enable more advanced queries, click the Query button to create a filter to find exactly what you're looking for.

 azure query conditions

As you can see, you can define complicated search conditions, save and repeat those questions if necessary.

Settings

Finally, there are a few settings that are useful to pay attention to. While not everything is discussed here, there are a handful that will help connect to Azure.

Proxy

The application settings page lists the proxy options. This is useful if you want to route your traffic through a corporate proxy.

 azure proxy

Sign-In

Also on the Application Settings page are the login options. Although the Microsoft Authentication Library (MSAL) is in preview, it is still a useful feature that you may need to enable. Since this library allows the use of improved single sign-on and multi-factor authentication, this may be necessary.

 azure msal sign-in

AzCopy

Finally on the Transfers screen, the AzCopy options. These options determine the default settings used by the AzCopy command. This is important because, depending on how big the files are and what kind of files you are transferring, it is useful to manage those settings.

Conclusion

Using the Azure Storage Explorer provides easy access to Azure storage resources. Without relying on the online portal interface, you can quickly use a cross-platform GUI solution to quickly manage storage resources, including uploading, downloading and creating resources.


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