How to connect Azure file storage with SharePoint

This "how-to-connect" documentation will explain the initial configuration of an example connection from Azure file storage to a SharePoint Online document library in Office 365. We will be synchronizing data stored in Azure file storage.

 

This guide presupposes that you have installed the Layer2 Cloud Connector and that you are familiar with its basic functionality. The Layer2 Cloud Connector User Documentation will provide you with all necessary information.

 

 

Contents

1. Configuring Azure file storage

2. Configuring the Layer2 Cloud Connector

2.1 Creating a new connection

2.2 Configuring the Data Entity 1

2.3 Configuring the Data Entity 2

2.4 Running your connection

3. Hints and known issues

3.1 Connection direction

 

 

1. Configuring Azure file storage

Go to your Azure account and open Storage accounts to create a new storage account. Note the name you gave to it.


Azure create storage

 

After creating your storage account, create a File Share:

 

Azure create file share

 

Open your created storage account and copy the URL.

 

Azure file storage url

 

Go to your storage account access keys and copy the key.

 

Azure keys

 

In your storage account, open the Connect tab. You should see the command line and PowerShell commands to map the Azure file storage to your local computer. Set the desired letter for your mapped driver and copy the commands. We used the command line version. 

 

Azure mapping folder

 

Open a command line and paste the command you copied. Execute it. 

 

Azure mapping folder cmd

 

You should now see the mapped folder in your local windows explorer:

 

Azure mapped folder

 


2. Configuring the Layer2 Cloud Connector

2.1. Creating a new connection

Create a new connection by using the Create New Connection option in the Actions pane (right-hand side). The new connection will appear at the bottom of the Connection Manager List (left-hand side). Click on your newly created connection to open the connection configuration settings.

 

Choose a meaningful name for your connection and replace the current "New Connection" Connection Title with it.

 

Connections to Azure file storage can be bi-directional. An initial connection should always be uni-directional to assure that both data entities are identical before switching to bi-directional. Therefore, choose Left to Right as Direction. You can change this setting after your initial synchronization finished successfully.

 

Step 1 Azure file storage connection setup.png

 

 

2.2. Configuring the Data Entity 1

We will now set up our Data Entities. Go to the data entity “Data Entity 1” to open the configuration settings.

 

Choose a Data Entity Title. It is recommended to give your entities meaningful names to maintain an overview when you decide to set up multiple connections.

 

Select the Data Provider for  File System from the data provider list. You can search for  File System by typing into the selection box.

 

Step 2 Azure file storage integration source setup.png

 

For the Connection String, we need the in step 1 mentioned information. You can copy the below connection string and adjust it to match your gathered information. Use the Verify Connection String option to evaluate if the provided connection string is valid.

 

 

Directory=\\webdavdiag375.file.core.windows.net\webdav;Authentication=Windows;User=AZURE\webdavdiag375;

 

 

  • "Directory=path;" this property points to the URL we got in step 1.
  • "Authentication=Windows;" this property defines which authentication method we are using.
  • "User=AZURE\storageaccountname;" this property must be set to the Azure storage account name we created in step 1. 

 

Enter the storage account key into the Password field. The field masks the value for better security.

 

The Select Statement text box is used to define specific data queries. We do not need it here. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.


Step 2.5 Azure file storage integration connection string setup.png

 

To check if all necessary columns are received, you can use the Preview Data option on the right-hand pane which will provide you with a pop-up window showing your sample data from your Azure file storage entity.

 

 

Preview data of Azure file storage integration.png

 

2.3. Configuring the Data Entity 2

We are going to send the data to a custom SharePoint Online documents library. It's required that you set up this documents library prior to the next steps. Your documents library should contain matching columns according to your source entity.

 

Use the left-hand pane to switch to the data entity "Data Entity 2". We will be using the Layer2 SharePoint Provider for this setup. 

 

For more information about the SharePoint provider visit:

https://www.layer2solutions.com/support/cloud-connector-faqs/layer2-csom-sharepoint-ado-net-provider.

 

You can copy the below Connection String which contains the minimum of required properties to connect to your custom SharePoint Online document library.

 

URL=https://your_custom_sharepoint_library_url/AllItems.aspx;Authentication=Office365;[email protected];

 

  • "URL=https://your_custom_sharepoint_url/AllItems.aspx;" this property defines the URL of your custom library that will be addressed.
  • "Authentication=Office365;" this property will determine the authentication method used. Office365 is the default authentication method to access Microsoft Office365 / SharePoint Online. This method will not work in case of federation, e.g. ADFS. For further authentication method you can consult the provider specifications linked above.
  • "[email protected];" this property should describe the user you wish to connect to SharePoint to. 

 

Enter the password that belongs to the user account used in the connection string into the Password field. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.

 

Step 3 Azure file storage integration target setup.png

 

In the next step, we will configure our mapping settings. Click on the Mappings option on the left-hand pane. If your fields from SharePoint are named identical to the fields from your source system, the Enable Auto Mapping option will match those columns. Disabling this option allows you to match your columns as needed. We enabled auto-mapping in our setup. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.

 

Step 4 Azure file storage integration mapping.png

 

2.4. Running your connection

To run your connection switch back to the main connection configuration node and use the Run Now Button located on the bottom of the setup page. The Run Synchronization Toolbox will also display the synchronization process. 

 

Step 5 Azure file storage data integration start.png

 

Below is a data preview of the information we have accessed in our source entity:

 

Azure file storage integration ready.png

 

This will be the result in our SharePoint Online document library after our initial successful synchronization:

 

Finished Azure file storage integration.png

If you want to use a bi-directional synchronization, you can now switch your connection direction after our first initial synchronization run finished successfully. See section 3.1 for further information.

3. Hints and known issues

 

3.1. Connection direction

As far as tested, this connection supports uni-directional as well as bi-directional synchronizations. 

 

After adjusting the direction to bi-directional, you should check your Mappings settings again because some systems might include read-only columns that cannot be mapped directly.

 

We also recommend to choose a Conflict Resolution that matches your environments needs. You can find out more about the different conflict resolutions in our Layer2 Cloud Connector User Documentation.

 

 

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