Cerulean

Feature Comparison - Storage Explorer

Feature Comparison: Cerulean v/s Microsoft Storage Explorer

In this page, we have summarized the key differences in supported features in Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer. Hopefully this would give you enough reasons to use Cerulean for managing your Azure resources. Even though there are features supported in both applications, Cerulean provide some additional features that makes your life as a developer easier when it comes to managing Azure resources.

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Cross Platform (runs on Windows, Mac & Linux)
Supported Azure Services    
 – Azure Storage
 – Azure Cosmos DB
 – Azure Subscription
 – Azure Service Bus
 – Azure Cognitive Search
 – Azure Redis Cache
 – Azure Cloud Services (Classic)
 – Azure Disks
Other Features    
Pricing Starts from $25/month Free

Azure Storage

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Connect to Azure Storage accounts
Manage blob resources (blob containers, blobs, upload, download and more)
Manage file resources (file shares, files, upload, download and more)
Manage queue resources (queues, messages and more)
Manage table resources (tables, entities and more)
Explore data from "secondary" endpoints (RA-GRS accounts)
Storage analytics
Cloud Service Diagnostics

Why you should consider Cerulean?

1. Connect to Azure Storage Accounts

Using Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer, you can connect to your Azure Storage accounts using your Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) credentials, Account Name/Key combination or Shared Access Signature (SAS) URL. However Cerulean add some features that make the overall experience better.

With Resource Categorization, you can put your storage accounts in different resource categories (e.g. Dev, Test, Prod) for better manageability. With Resource Permissions, you can open a storage account in "read-only" or "read-write" mode to prevent accidental deletes and updates. You can assign friendly names to your storage accounts for easier identification. These things are not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

2. Better Blob Resources Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to manage your blob resources (blob containers and blobs), however Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive.

Better Upload/Download: While uploading files and folders from your local computer, you can specify a list of file extensions & a compression algorithm (GZIP or DEFLATE) and Cerulean will first compresses those files and upload them. Similarly while downloading, you can instruct Cerulean to automatically decompress the blobs where content-encoding property of the blob is either "gzip" or "deflate". This is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

Better Search: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer allows you to search for blobs by blob prefix. Cerulean goes beyond that and lets you perform a contains search where you can search for blobs by specifying a string contained in the blob name. This comes in quite handy if you want to files of a particular type in a blob container.

Bulk Operations: Cerulean enables you to perform bulk operations on blobs. You can set properties, take snapshots, or change access tier (hot/cold/archive) on multiple blobs, blob folders or all blobs in a blob container with ease. With Microsoft Storage Explorer, you will need to perform these operations on each blob separately which can be a really tiresome process if you have to do this on many blobs in a blob container.

Multiple Views: You can view blobs in folder hierarchy (virtual folders and blobs) or flat (no) hierarchy (the way blobs are actually stored in storage). Microsoft Storage Explorer only lets you view blobs in folder hierarchy.

3. Better File Resources Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to manage your file resources (file shares, folders and files), however Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive.

Better Upload/Download: While uploading files and folders from your local computer, you can specify a list of file extensions & a compression algorithm (GZIP or DEFLATE) and Cerulean will first compresses those files and upload them. Similarly while downloading, you can instruct Cerulean to automatically decompress the blobs where content-encoding property of the blob is either "gzip" or "deflate". This is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

View file properties: When listing files and folders in a share, Cerulean displays the file properties like last modified date, content type etc. for the files in a share or a folder. This enables you to sort the files on these properties which is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer. There you will need to fetch properties of each file individually to see those details.

One-Click Restore Snapshot: While both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enable you to manage snapshots for a file share, Cerulean goes a bit ahead and gives you an ability to restore a share snapshot with a single click. This is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

4. Better Queue Resources Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to manage your queue resources (queues and messages), however Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive.

Dequeue Messages: Microsoft Storage Explorer allows you to dequeue messages but you can only dequeue a single message from the top of the queue. Furthermore, you can't really do anything with that message. With Cerulean, you can dequeue up to 32 messages from the top of the queue. You can update those dequeued messages by changing the message contents and/or visibility timeout and also delete those messages . This is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

Copy/Move Messages: Microsoft Storage Explorer only allows you to copy a single message in the same queue through their "Requeue Message" functionality. With Cerulean you can copy up to 32 messages from a queue to another queue in the same storage account. Furthermore, using Cerulean you can also move all messages from a queue to another queue in the same storage account.

Never Expiring Messages: Azure Storage allows you to create messages in a queue that will never expire. Cerulean enables you to create such messages. With Microsoft Storage Explorer, maximum time-to-live that you can set on a message is 7 days.

Queue Monitoring: Cerulean has this neat feature using which you can monitor the number of messages that are there in a queue in near real-time. The data is presented in both interactive chart and grid. This is a great way to keep an eye on the queue to ensure everything is working great with that queue. This feature is not available in Microsoft Storage Explorer.

5. Better Table Resources Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to manage your table resources (tables and entities), however Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive.

Built-in Query Manager: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to write queries against your tables and execute them however with Cerulean you can save these queries in the application itself so that you don't have to type them over and over again. You can also mark a query as "default" so that particular query will be pre-selected when you open up that table to manage entities. With Microsoft Storage Explorer, you will need to export each query as a JSON file on your local computer and then reimport them.

Better Download: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to download entities on your local computer. With Cerulean you can download the data in multiple formats (JSON, CSV or Typed CSV). Furthermore you can download selected entities, entities matching a certain query or all entities from a table. With Microsoft Storage Explorer you only download selected entities and that too in either CSV or Typed CSV format (which is a system wide setting and not a per download setting).

Copy Entities: Microsoft Storage Explorer only allows you to copy an entire table. With Cerulean, you can copy selected entities, entities matching a certain query or all entities from a table to another table in same or different storage account. Furthermore, this functionality is not restricted to Azure Storage Tables only. With Cerulean, you can perform this copy operation between a Table in Azure Storage and a Table in Azure Cosmos DB account targeting Table API. You can seamlessly copy entities from a Storage Table to a Cosmos DB Table and vice versa. Please note that Cerulean does not support upload functionality available in Microsoft Storage Explorer. However copy entities functionality can be used in lieu of that if the purpose of download/upload entities is to copy the data.

Better Entities Management: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to perform entities management operations. However Cerulean some additional features that would help you. For example, you can duplicate an entity to create a new entity from an existing entity. You can edit multiple entities together and add/update/delete attributes from those entities. Recently Microsoft Storage Explorer started supporting "Binary" type entity attribute but you would need to enter the binary data as Base64 encoded string which is not very user friendly. Cerulean instead asks you to choose a file from your local computer and converts the contents of that file into a Base64 encoded string for you.

6. Secondary Endpoints Support (RA-GRS Accounts)

As you may already know, for Read-Access Geo-Redundant Storage (RAGRS) accounts you can read data at any time from secondary endpoints of that storage account (accountname-secondary.blob.core.windows.net). Cerulean is the only app that will allow you to do that without writing any code. Using Cerulean, you can connect to the secondary endpoints for Blob, Queue and Table Service of your Storage Account and explore the data there. This is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer or any other Azure management tool.

7. Storage Analytics Support

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer lets you explore the data collected by storage analytics in your Azure Storage account. However Cerulean has some extra features. First, it enables you to configure storage analytics settings for blob, file, queue and table service in your storage account which is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer. Next, Cerulean nicely groups all storage analytics settings related blob containers and tables in a separate node whereas in Storage Explorer these containers/tables are shown along with your other containers/tables. Furthermore, you can simply choose to not display this node for each account separately in Cerulean where as in Storage Explorer, it is a system-wide setting and applies to all storage accounts.

8. Cloud Service (Classic) Diagnostics

If you use Classic Cloud Services, you already know that the diagnostics data collected by your Cloud Services (Web/Worker Roles) is stored in Azure Storage Tables and Blob Containers. While you can explore the contents of these tables and blob containers using Microsoft Storage Explorer, Cerulean gives you an intuitive UI to view and manage this diagnostics data. You can search for this data based on a number of parameters, filter the results, download the data and even purge old diagnostics data.

Azure Cosmos DB

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Connect to Azure Cosmos DB accounts
Multiple API support
Manage databases
Manage containers
Manage items
Manage stored procedures, triggers and user-defined functions
Manage users

Why you should consider Cerulean?

1. Connect to Azure Cosmos DB Accounts

Using Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer, you can connect to your Azure Cosmos DB accounts using your Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) credentials or Account Name/Key combination. However Cerulean add some features that make the overall experience better.

With Resource Categorization, you can put your Cosmos DB accounts in different resource categories (e.g. Dev, Test, Prod) for better manageability. With Resource Permissions, you can open a Cosmos DB account in "read-only" or "read-write" mode to prevent accidental deletes and updates. You can assign friendly names to your Cosmos DB accounts for easier identification. These things are not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

2. Multiple API Support

Cosmos DB is a multi-model system that supports many data models (document, graph, key/value pair etc.). Cerulean today supports on SQL API, Gremlin (Graph) API and Table API where as Microsoft Storage Explorer also supports Mongo and Cassandra API apart from the ones supported by Cerulean.

Support for Mongo and Cassandra is definitely on our roadmap and these will show up in Cerulean in next few months if not sooner.

3. Better Database Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to perform operations on the databases in your Cosmos DB account. However Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive.

Database Throughput: As you already know that you can now configure throughput at the database level and that throughput will be shared by all containers in that database. Using Cerulean you can create a database with a provisioned throughput. Cerulean also enables you to change the throughput on the database. Both of these are not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

4. Better Container Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to perform operations on the containers in a database in your Cosmos DB account. However Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive.

Container Throughput: Using Cerulean you can create a container with either provisioned throughput on the container or one that will share throughput of the database. Cerulean also enables you to change the throughput on the container. Microsoft Storage Explorer only lets you create a container with provisioned throughput.

Container Indexing Policy: When creating a container, Cerulean allows you to define indexing policy for that container. You can define included/excluded paths, composite indexes, and spatial indexes. You can also edit indexing policies on an existing container. Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have this capability.

Unique Key Policy: When creating a container, Cerulean allows you to define unique key policy on a container. You can also view unique key policy on an existing container. Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have this capability.

Document Time-To-Live (TTL): When creating a container, Cerulean allows you to define time-to-live (TTL) policy on a container for the documents in that container. You can also update TTL policy on an existing container. Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have this capability.

5. Better Items (Documents, Vertices/Edges, Entities) Management

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to manage items (documents, vertices/edges, entities) in a containers in your Cosmos DB account. However Cerulean adds some extra features there to make you as a developer more productive. For Cosmos DB accounts targeting Table API, please see "Better Table Resources Management" section under Azure Storage above.

Built-in Query Manager: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to write queries against your containers and execute them however with Cerulean you can save these queries in the application itself so that you don't have to type them over and over again. You can also mark a query as "default" so that particular query will be pre-selected when you open up that table to manage entities. Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have this capability.

SQL API Documents: Using Cerulean, you can view the query result (documents) in both tabular (as rows and columns) as well as JSON format. Microsoft Storage Explorer only shows the data in JSON format. Furthermore Cerulean also displays response headers that are sent as part of the query result which is not shown by Microsoft Storage Explorer. Furthermore using Cerulean you can delete multiple documents from a container. Microsoft Storage Explorer only allows you to delete one document at a time.

Graph Vertices/Edges: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer shows the query result (vertices/edges) in both graph as well as JSON format. Furthermore Cerulean also displays response headers that are sent as part of the query result which is not shown by Microsoft Storage Explorer. When querying graph resources, using Cerulean you can issue multiple queries (e.g. g.V();g.E()) which is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer where you can only issue a single query. Also Cerulean provides rich customization of vertices and edges by enabling you to change the shape/color/size of vertices and edges.

Azure Subscription

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Connect to Azure Subscriptions
Basic resource management
Integrated Azure Portal & Cloud Shell

Why you should consider Cerulean?

1. Manage Azure Resources

Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to connect to your Azure Subscription using either "Work/School" or "Personal" Microsoft accounts however Cerulean goes a step beyond and enables you to perform basic management operations on the supported resources.

For example, using both Cerulean and Storage Explorer you can list storage accounts in your Azure Subscription but using Cerulean you can not only view the access keys but also regenerate them if needed.

2. Integrated Azure Portal

Cerulean has this nifty feature using which you can directly launch Azure Portal from inside the application and Portal opens up as another tab inside the application only. No need to toggle between Cerulean and Web Browser to manage your Azure resources in Azure Portal.

3. Integrated Azure Cloud Shell

If you are a developer who likes to work with both a UI based application and command-line interface, Cerulean has you covered. You can directly launch Azure Cloud Shell from inside the application and it opens up as another tab in the application. Using either Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI tools, you can easily manage your Azure resources from Cloud Shell inside Cerulean itself. This is not possible with Microsoft Storage Explorer.

4. Resource Permissions

Even though Azure has a very strong and granular role-based access control (RBAC), it does not protect you from accidental deletes and updates when you are assigned a role that gives you the capability of performing all operations on resources in your Azure Subscription. This is where Cerulean can help you.

Using Cerulean, with one simple click you can change how you would like to interact with your Azure Subscription inside the application. You can open an Azure Subscription in read-only mode inside Cerulean and that will prevent you from making any changes (add, update, and delete) for all resources inside that Subscription when using Cerulean. Or you can open a Subscription in read-write mode inside Cerulean and that will prevent you from deleting any resource yet allowing you to make changes (add, update) for all resources inside that subscription.

Azure Service Bus

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Manage Azure Service Bus Resources

Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have the capability to manage your Azure Service Bus resources (namespaces, queues & messages, and topics, subscriptions & messages). So if you're looking for an app that gives you a comprehensive support for managing your Azure Service Bus resources as well as other Azure resources, Cerulean can certainly be helpful there.

Azure Redis Cache

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Manage Azure Redis Cache Resources

Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have the capability to manage your Azure Redis Cache resources (database, keys and more), So if you're looking for an app that gives you comprehensive support for managing your Azure Redis Cache resources as well as other Azure resources, Cerulean can certainly be helpful there.

Azure Cloud Services (Classic)

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Manage Classic Cloud Services

Microsoft Storage Explorer does not have the capability to manage your Azure Classic Cloud Services, So if you're looking for an app that gives you comprehensive support for managing your Azure Classic Cloud Service resources as well as other Azure resources, Cerulean can certainly be helpful there.

Azure Disks

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Manage Azure Disks

Cerulean today does not have direct support for managing disks that are there in your Azure Subscription. If you're looking for an app that enables you to manage disks, we would recommend that you use Microsoft Storage Explorer. You can however manage the disks that are there in your Azure Subscriptions by either launching Azure Portal or Azure Cloud Shell from inside Cerulean and use the features/commands available in Azure Portal/ Cloud Shell for managing disks.

Other Features

Feature Cerulean Storage Explorer
Resource Categorization
Resource Permission
Proxy Support
Multi-Lingual
Customizable
Quick Access
UI Theme

Apart from providing support for managing Azure resources, both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer have other convenience features that would make your life as a developer easy. Following are some of those features.

Resource Categorization: Resource categorization is a convenience feature in Cerulean using which you put your resources in different categories like all development resources in "Dev" category, all production resources in "Prod" category etc. You can then view the resources either by resource type (e.g. all storage accounts are shown together), resource group (e.g. all resources in "Dev" category are shown together or resource group and type (resources are first grouped by resource group and then by resource type). This feature is not available in Microsoft Storage Explorer.

Resource Permission: Resource permission is a convenience feature in Cerulean using which you can view and manage your resources in 3 modes: 1) In "read-only" mode, you can only view the resources and you will not be allowed to perform any create, update or delete operations on the resources. 2) In "read-write" mode, you can view the resources and are allowed to perform create and update operations but will not be allowed any delete operations on the resources. 3) In "full" mode (which is thde default mode), you will be allowed to perform any operations on the resources. This is a great feature to prevent accidental deletes and updates. This feature is not available in Microsoft Storage Explorer.

Proxy Support: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer enables you to connect to your Azure resources from behind a proxy server.

Multi-Lingual: Cerulean is only available in English whereas Microsoft Storage Explorer in available in other languages as well. So if you're looking for an Azure management app that is available in a language other than English, we recommend that you use Microsoft Storage Explorer.

Customizable: Both Cerulean and Microsoft Storage Explorer provide a lot of customization features depending on the services supported.

Quick Access: Quick access (similar to bookmarks) functionality allows you to mark certain resources as favorites so that you can access them quickly without having to navigate through resource hierarchy. Today this feature is only available in Microsoft Storage Explorer but it is on our roadmap.

UI Theme: UI theme is another feature available only in Microsoft Storage Explorer using which you can change the theme (look and feel) of the application. This is also on our roadmap.