Azure Services: Azure Blob Storage
Cost: Free of use
How it is delivered: Installer
Top 3 features:
#1 Looks and feel like File Explorer
#2 Drag and drop functionality
#3 Integrated with local file storage
#1 Lack of support for virtual directories (e.g. OneDrive)
#2 Linux support
#3 Hard to find download link using search engine
First time when I discovered these tools was a few months ago. I was looking for a method for copying data from Azure Blob Storage to the local disk for non-technical people. Imagine that you need to share content with somebody from HR knows to use only Office and Windows. For them, a tool that looks like Windows File Explorer is perfect.
The first thing that impressed me at the tools what the similarities with File Explorer. The initial look and feel are almost the same. As you can see below the icons, the position of the content and the features are the same. I like that that copy&paste and drag and drop are working seamlessly. With the current UI, even my mother that has 70+ years old can use Azure Storage without a problem for sharing content.
You can use the local emulator storage or you can add any Azure Storage account using a SAS key, connection string or using the <storage account name, key> tuple. For each path (aka folder) or blob inside the Azure Storage, you can see properties (e.g. size, ETag, last modified date) or manage the SAS or permissions if needed.
You can add multiple storage accounts for which you are allowed to copy content between them or to the local storage. Even if you don’t see the virtual folders like OneDrive ones, you can bookmark it and access from there later on.
Until now, I didn’t have any issues with the tool or limitations. I even create a script that installs automatically Azure Cloud Explorer and configure the Azure Storage accounts. In this way, a non-technical use has the tool ready for use in just a few seconds.
Azure Cloud Explorer is one of that kind of tools that people don’t know about it, even if the tool is free and provide the same experience as you have with File Explorer when you upload/download content from Azure Blob Storage. It’s the perfect tool for non-IT people. You should give it a try.