How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share

6 min read

Introduction

Last week, Microsoft announced a new Azure service, called Azure Data Share which is in public preview as of writing this article.

The common data sharing solutions today such as file transfer protocol (FTP) or web APIs require infrastructure to manage where there’s a lot of administrative overhead, and these tools do not provide the security or governance required to meet enterprise standards, and they often are not suitable for sharing large datasets.

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.

So the way that the product works is essentially a data provider. Microsoft will go ahead and provision a new data share. They will add datasets to that data share. Microsoft does currently support Azure Blob Storage and Azure Data Lake Storage as well. In the future, they are planning to support more and more data sources of Azure.

Then basically, the data provider (sender) can add recipients for their partner organization. So they can actually e-mail their partners with invitations. Then you as a data provider, you can actually track when they’ve accepted the invitation. Then you can also quite importantly, interestingly, specify “Terms of use” such as (Do not share outside of your organization), this is aim at legal and governance aspect of how the data is going to be treated.

In this article, I will show you how you can start sharing your data securely using Azure Data Share.

Prerequisites

The prerequisites are very simple as follows:

  • Azure subscription: If you don’t have an Azure account, you can start with a free trial here.
  • Azure Storage account: If you don’t have one, you can create a new storage account using the Azure Portal here. The storage account is required for both organizations (sender and recipient).
  • Azure Data Share account: You need to have a data share account for both organizations (sender and recipient).
  • Recipient e-mail account: You need to have the full login e-mail address of the recipient. In other words, the organization with who you wish to share your data requires to have an Azure subscription as well.

Create an Azure Data Share Account

Assuming you have everything in please, take now the following steps:

  1. Launch the Azure Portal, and select + Create a resource in the upper-left hand of the portal. Search for Data Share, and click Create. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 1
  2. Fill out the following details and click Create. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 2
  3. When the deployment is completed, click Go to resource. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 3

Create a Data Share

In this step, we will create the data share by taking the following steps:

  1. Browse to the Data Share Overview page and select Start sharing your data. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 4
  2. Select + Create. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 5
  3. Fill out the following details for your Data Share and click Continue. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 6
  4. To add Datasets to your Data Share, click Add datasets. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 7
  5. Select the dataset type that you would like to add. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Microsoft does currently support Azure Blob Storage and Azure Data Lake Storage. In this example, I will choose Azure Blob Storage. Then click Next. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 8
  6. Browse to the object that you would like to share, in this example, it’s an Azure Storage Blob Container, select Add datasets, and then click Continue. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 9
  7. In the Recipients tab, enter in the email addresses of your Data Consumer by selecting + Add Recipient. Click Continue. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 10
  8. If you’d like your data consumer (partner) to be able to get incremental updates of your data which is highly important, then enable the snapshot schedule below by selecting Recurrence (Daily or Hourly) including the Start time. Click Continue. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 11
  9. In the Review + Create tab, review your Package Contents, Settings, Recipients, and Snapshot Settings. Select Create. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 12

Your Azure Data Share has now been created and the recipient of your Data Share is now ready to accept your invitation in the next step.

Accept and receive data share

Now as a recipient, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Check your inbox for an invitation e-mail from your data provider. The invitation is from Microsoft Azure, make sure to sign in to the Azure Portal and click View invitation >. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 13
  2. Select on View invitation to see your invitation in Azure. This takes you to your Received Shares view. Click on the share you would like to view. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 14
  3. Select I agree to terms of use. And in Target Data Share Account, fill the details below. For the Data Share Account field, select Create new if you don’t have an existing Data Share account. Once you’ve completed all the details and specified a location for your share, click on Accept and configure now. How To Share Data Securely Using Azure Data Share 15
  4. Now, under Target Storage Setting, select the Subscription, Resource group, and storage account that you’d like to receive your data into.
  5. To receive regular refreshes of your data, make sure you enable the Snapshot Settings. Please note that you will only see a snapshot setting schedule if your data provider (sender) has included it in the data share as described in the previous step. Select Save.
  6. Last but not least, you can trigger a snapshot in the Received Shares -> Details tab by selecting Trigger snapshot. Here, you can trigger a full or incremental snapshot of your data. If it is your first time receiving data from your data provider, you need to select Full copy.
  7. When the last run status is successful, you can open the storage account and view the received data.

Enjoy data sharing securely with Azure Data Share :)

Summary

Azure Data Share is a cloud-based service which helps you share data with other organizations. It provides centralized management, monitoring, and governance for sharing data from multiple Azure data sources. Using this service, you can quickly create shares which consist of multiple data-sets from a variety of Azure data stores. Easily invite your customers and external partners to access these shares through incremental snapshots of your data, revoke access as needed.

You can find more information about Azure Data Share on Microsoft Docs here.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

About Charbel Nemnom 577 Articles
Charbel Nemnom is a Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), totally fan of the latest's IT platform solutions, accomplished hands-on technical professional with over 17 years of broad IT Infrastructure experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems. Excellent communicator is adept at identifying business needs and bridging the gap between functional groups and technology to foster targeted and innovative IT project development. Well respected by peers through demonstrating passion for technology and performance improvement. Extensive practical knowledge of complex systems builds, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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