Categories: Microsoft Flow

7 options to store data in Azure with Microsoft Flow

When you create flows you could store data in SharePoint or in CDS and Microsoft Flow will give you easy actions to create new items. But what if you want to store data in Azure. There are quite a few different options possible. In this post I will compare the options.

When you look at the Azure connectors the following storage options are available:

  • Azure File Storage
  • Azure Blob Storage
  • Azure Queues
  • Azure Data Lake
  • Azure Table Storage
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse
  • SQL Server

Azure File Storage

The Azure File storage connector offers you a set of actions related to files. You can Create, Update, Copy, Delete files. Once you have uploaded files you can also Extract archive to folder when your file is a zip file, Get the file content and get the file metadata.

Once you have supplied the connection details you can create a file

Once you create a file the Storage explorer will show you that a file has been created.

The File Storage is good to use when you simply want to create files in a file system kind of way. Using Flow or LogicApps.

Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob storage is fairly similar to the File Storage options with a few differences.

Azure blob storages has the same create, copy, delete, get content actions available. In addition there is also an option to trigger a flow when a new blob is added or modified.

In addition there are actions to create a shared access signature(SAS) link. A  SAS provides you with a way to grant limited access to objects in your storage account to other clients, without exposing your account key.

The Blob storage also lets you adjust the tier for the blob stored in Azure.

 

Azure Queues

Maybe you wouldn’t immediately think of queues as a storage. But it is perfectly possible to use queues as a way to get flows or logic apps to exchange small pieces of information.

And you can also trigger your flow when a message or a set number of messages has appeared in a queue.

 

Azure Data Lake

Azure Data Lake gives you some basic file operations. to create files in a folder structure.

As the operations are very limited the blob storage may be more useful.

Azure Table Storage

Azure Table Storage actions gives you more of a structured way of dealing with data.

With this connector you can add data in json format …

and query the data using the get entities.

Ok, it’s not a relational database. But for basic data operations this could be quite useful.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse

The Azure SQL data warehouse connector helps you connect to you  Azure Data Warehouse. Uisng this connector you can run SQL queries and stored procedure to manage your data from Flow.

This is the more heavy option for storing data in a SQL database for many flows developed by cititzen developers, however many solutions need the support form a proper database system. The Azure SQL Data Warehouse connector can help with this.

Not that if you use this connector you will need to add the right IP addresses to the access rules on your Azure SQL Database.

SQL Server

The Azure SQL data warehouse connector is quite limited inn its operations. The SQL server connector gives you some more options to work with your SQL server databases in Azure.

Once you have set up the connection

You will find a set of triggers helping you to start a flow when data is updated.

And even more actions to manage your SQL data:

My Thoughts

Depending on what you need, there can be many different options to store data in Azure. From simply file storage to table based data all is possible. Flow and Logic Apps can combine the different data sources with all its connectors. If needed it is even possible to still store your data in SharePoint lists or the Common Data Services.

 

 

 

 

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Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using contact@veenstra.me.uk.

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