Azure Storage Blob is cloud-based storage provided by Microsoft. It’s typically used by organizations needing to store and retrieve Binary Large Objects (BLOBs) or files. Users can allow customers to review unstructured data using Rest-based object storage. Dynamics365 now offers a way for users to store and retrieve attachments with Microsoft Azure Blob.
While the capability is still officially in preview mode, making Azure Blob an alternative storage solution for Dynamics 365 solutions is currently part of Microsoft’s roadmap. Until it goes live, it’s best to use Azure Blob functions in a non-production mode on a trial basis.
Benefits of Using Azure Storage Blob with Dynamics 365
Microsoft designed Azure Blob to handle organizational needs to handle modern data storage scenarios like setting up:
- A cloud file service system
- A cloud messaging store
- A NoSQL store
The inherent redundancy of Azure Blob keeps information safe in the case of hardware failure. Businesses can also replace data across various data centers or geographical regions for extra protection against a natural disaster or other catastrophes. That way, your organization can maintain uptime when an unexpected outage occurs.
Azure Blob scales to meet your Dynamics 365 application data storage and performance needs. Microsoft handles hardware maintenance and critical issues, relieving your IT team of that burden. Information stored in Azure Blob is accessible from anywhere you can access an HTTP or HTTPS connection. Developers can take advantage of Microsoft libraries to develop applications in popular languages like:
Microsoft Azure Blob storage also supports scripting through Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI. You can also use the Azure Portal or Azure Storage Explorer to visualize your cloud data solutions.
Installing Azure Storage Blob in Dynamics 365
Now that you better understand Azure Blob, let’s look at how you can get started with Dynamics 365 Azure Blob integration.
Set up an Azure Blob Account
- From the Azure portal, click on Storage accounts to view a list of all available storage accounts, then select Create.
- Go to the Basics tab and fill in all essential storage account information. Use the Advanced tab to view additional options.
- Review the Networking tab to configure your Azure Blob account's network and routing preferences.
- Review the Data protection tab to configure data protections for your Azure Blob.
- Review the Encryption tab to set up options on encrypting data persisted to Azure cloud.
- Review the Tags tab to set up your Resource Manager tags to organize Azure resources.
- Select Review + create to confirm your choices or to go with the default account options.
- After Azure validates your storage accounts, you will see an image in the Review tab that shows all the options you picked.
- Select Review + create to finalize your Azure Blob storage account.
Configure Azure Blob Storage in Dynamics 365
- Open up Microsoft Dynamics 365 and go to the Admin console.
- Navigate to Connections, go to Add connection, then select Azure Storage Blob to configure your new connection.
- Add a recognizable name in the Display name field.
- Select which users are allowed to use the connection. The default setting provides access to Administrators only.
- Add the Account name, Key, and Container for an Azure Blob Storage Account.
- Click Save to complete your Azure Blob Dynamics 365 connection setup.
Configure Azure Blob Exports in Dynamics 365
- Navigate to Data àExports, then select Add destination to set up a new export.
- Go to the Connection for export field and select your desired connection from Azure Blob storage.
- Select the entities for destinations where you wish to export data.
- Click Save.
Best Practices for Using Azure Blob with Dynamics 365
Any requests made to your Azure storage accounts must receive authorizations. You can use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to handle your authorization requests to ensure they are secure. It’s possible to set up Windows VMs to use your Azure file shares with Azure Blob with the same credentials.
If you decide to delete an Azure Blob storage account, that will remove all data stored in that location. Make sure you’ve backed up any important data before deleting an Azure Blob from your Azure account. It’s not always possible to recover an Azure Blob storage account once it’s been deleted from the Azure portal.
Dynamics 365 Attachment Management with Azure Blob Storage
Microsoft AppSource contains an Attachment Management Add-in to help you work with attachments within Dynamics 365. With it, you can use Azure Blob to store attachments and optimize Dynamics 365 use of storage.
You can also configure optional upload and download control over multiple attachments. In addition, developers can enable forms with file drag and drop capabilities to make working with attachments easier for users.
After downloading the Attachment Management solution, you can log into your Azure portal and set up a new container.
- Log in to Azure Portal, then navigate to your Azure Blob storage account.
- Look for Containers, then select the Container button to add a new blob container. Make sure you set your access level to a Blob type.
- Create two attachment containers, one for notes and one for emails.
- After creating your containers, go to Storage Account, then navigate to Shared Access Signature.
- Click Generate SAS and connection string to generate the credentials to use in Dynamics 365.
Once you have your credentials, you need to add them to Dynamics 365.
- Go to Dynamics 365 and the Azure Attachments Storage settings, then select Azure Blob Storage Setup.
- Add the following credentials:
- Storage account name
- SAS Token
- Notes Attachment Container
- Email Attachment Container
- Organizational GUID (optional)
- Go to Notes Attachment Entity Settings. Select the correct entity and container name to map your attachments to Azure Blob, then click Save.
Seamless Integrations Between Dynamics 365 and Azure Blob
Internet eBusiness Solutions provides support services to help organizations navigate the intricacies of integrating Dynamics 365 Azure Blob storage. Learn how we can support your cloud transition needs by setting up a consultation with one of our experts.