Windows Azure Drive Beta Released

A beta release of Windows Azure Drive is now available. It was announced as XDrive at PDC 2009.Azure

With Windows Azure Drive, your Windows Azure applications running in the cloud can use existing NTFS APIs to access a durable drive. The Windows Azure application can read from or write to a drive letter (e.g., D:) that represents a durable NTFS volume for storing and accessing data. For more information, see Beta Release of Windows Azure Drive on the Windows Azure Team Blog.

More detailed information can be found in the technical white paper here and at MSDN.

Using Windows Azure drive can significantly ease the migration of existing Windows applications to the cloud, enabling a more seamless migration experience while simultaneously reducing the amount of time it takes to move the applications from your own Windows environment to a Windows Azure environment.

In order to mount a Windows Azure Drive you will need to use Feb 2010 version of the Windows Azure SDK. The SDK provides the following Windows Azure Drive APIs for your Windows Azure application to use:

  • Create Drive – Creates a Page Blob formatted as a single partition NTFS volume VHD.
  • Initialize Cache – Allows an application to specify the location and size of the local data cache for all Windows Azure Drives mounted for that VM instance.
  • Mount Drive – Takes a formatted Page Blob and mounts it to a drive letter for the Windows Azure application to start using.
  • Get Mounted Drives – Returns the list of mounted drives. It consists of a list of the drive letter and Page Blob URLs for each mounted drive.
  • Unmount Drive – Unmounts the drive and frees up the drive letter.
  • Snapshot Drive – Allows the client application to create a backup of the drive (Page Blob).
  • Copy Drive – Provides the ability to copy a drive or snapshot to another drive (Page Blob) name to be used as a read/writable drive.

Enjoy!

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