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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Announces Public Preview of Azure Data Share

Microsoft Announces Public Preview of Azure Data Share

Microsoft has announced the public preview of Azure Data Share, which provides capabilities to share data with users in the own organization, as well as with other organizations. Essentially, Microsoft positions the recently announced service as a big data tool, though it's also possible to share individual files.

Traditionally, data exchange between organizations would often include tools such as FTP, email, or OneDrive. However, this does not always meet the requirements needed in an enterprise environment, as explained by Sam Cogan, solution architect, and Microsoft Azure MVP.

This can be problematic when you are using very large data sets and often goes against company security policies. Using these tools also makes refreshing the data painful. By using Data Share, you can make data available quickly to other Azure users, without needing to copy your data anywhere yourself.

The Azure Data Share service provides its abilities as a PaaS option, eliminating the need to deploy any infrastructure. Setting up the data sharing is done entirely through configuration, without writing any code. Moreover, currently two options are available when it comes to the data sources, Azure Blob Storage and Azure Data Lake Storage (Gen 1 and 2), with more choices expected as the service moves into general availability. The shared data is, by default, a snapshot of the data as it was when creating the share. Nevertheless, the possibility to set up incremental updates of the data is also offered, allowing to renew the data hourly or daily. There's also the possibility to revoke access to shared data subscriptions; although this does not delete the remote data, it just ensures that it no longer receives updates.


Important to note, is that sharing of data is only possible between Azure subscriptions, and the receiving party requires write permissions on the storage account holding the information. Seeing how Azure Data Share built on top of Azure, the service leverages the built-in security capabilities of the platform, such as data encryption in transit as well as at rest, if the datastore supports this. Additionally, it uses RBAC capabilities to set access to the service and leverages Managed Service Identities for access to the underlying data store.

Supplementary monitoring is added on top of this by Azure Data Share, such as invitation statuses and snapshot history. According to Charbel Nemnom, cloud architect and Microsoft MVP, having these capabilities helps to simplify the process of sharing data with partners.

The whole idea of Azure Data Share is really to simplify that process and have a single pane of glass over all of your data sharing needs. So instead of losing track of who you've shared data with? What you've shared? When you shared it, and things like that. This is aiming to be these one-stop shop for customers, data sharing needs.

Getting started with Azure Data Share entails setting up an account, followed by creating a data share, which gets shared with the recipients. The next step is to add data sets from the source services to the data share, and optionally add an update schedule. The recipient receives an email with an invitation, which allows them to access the share and link it to their storage account in their Azure tenant.

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