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Choosing azure table storage - A list of things to consider

  • Simple cost structure - Users are charged a simple flat fee for transactions and storage.
  • Great for disaster recovery. When used in geo-replication mode the table is replicated in other geographical sub regions
  • Easy to scale out - The scale out is automatic since Azure table storage is sharded based on the partition key.
  • A seriously crippling issue is the absence of secondary indexes. You can write efficient queries only using the rowkey and partitionkey. There are workarounds that one can resort to such as storing the same data twice with different rowkeys. This this unnecessarily complicates the application logic
  • Limited support for transactions - Transactions are supported if the entities are in the same table and in the same partition. Only 100 operations are supported in a transaction.
  • Supports only simple data types - For example Table Storage does not support float. You would need to cast floats into a double
If you are thinking about Azure Table Storage as an alternative to SQL Azure/Server consider switching only if
  • You really understand what NoSQL entails
  • You have changing schema
  • You have large volumes of data
  • You have no need for referential integrity
  • You have no complex relationships
  • You have explored other NoSQL offerings and have decided Azure Table Storage is the right fit for you

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