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Developing Cloud Applications with Windows Azure Storage: Blobs

Business use cases

Much of the nontextual content displayed by web browsers is blob data. This kind of content tends to be significantly larger in size than the markup that references it, making it more demanding on servers and networks to deliver. Images, documents, audio, and video files are all good examples of this kind of bulky data. Because of size or demand (or both), some of this data will inevitably require greater server and network capacity to deliver, and this creates challenges for redistributing the data to meet demand.

Of course, blob data is not generally sent to the browser with the HTML markup of a website application; instead, URLs to the resources are embedded in the HTML tags that the browser receives and then uses to retrieve the referenced resources and render them locally on the user’s machine. Because each resource is referenced by a URL, it makes no difference to the client’s browser whether the resource is located on the same server that the HTML was retrieved from, or in another location in an entirely different domain. It is therefore quite easy to take advantage of the massive and dynamic scalability of Windows Azure blob storage to supplement on-premise and cloud-deployed applications by storing this content there. The same thing is true for other kinds of free-standing content accessed by a URL, such as Word, Excel, and PDF documents.