Explore data in Azure Blob storage with the pandas Python package

This article covers how to explore data that is stored in Azure blob container using the pandas Python package.

This task is a step in the Team Data Science Process.


This article assumes that you have:

Load the data into a pandas DataFrame

To explore and manipulate a dataset, it must first be downloaded from the blob source to a local file, which can then be loaded in a pandas DataFrame. Here are the steps to follow for this procedure:

  1. Download the data from Azure blob with the following Python code sample using Blob service. Replace the variable in the following code with your specific values:

    from azure.storage.blob import BlobServiceClient
    import pandas as pd
    STORAGEACCOUNTURL= <storage_account_url>
    STORAGEACCOUNTKEY= <storage_account_key>
    LOCALFILENAME= <local_file_name>
    CONTAINERNAME= <container_name>
    BLOBNAME= <blob_name>
    #download from blob
    blob_service_client_instance = BlobServiceClient(account_url=STORAGEACCOUNTURL, credential=STORAGEACCOUNTKEY)
    blob_client_instance = blob_service_client_instance.get_blob_client(CONTAINERNAME, BLOBNAME, snapshot=None)
    with open(LOCALFILENAME, "wb") as my_blob:
        blob_data = blob_client_instance.download_blob()
    print(("It takes %s seconds to download "+BLOBNAME) % (t2 - t1))
  2. Read the data into a pandas DataFrame from the downloaded file.

    # LOCALFILE is the file path
    dataframe_blobdata = pd.read_csv(LOCALFILENAME)

If you need more general information on reading from an Azure Storage Blob, look at our documentation Azure Storage Blobs client library for Python.

Now you are ready to explore the data and generate features on this dataset.

Examples of data exploration using pandas

Here are a few examples of ways to explore data using pandas:

  1. Inspect the number of rows and columns

    print('the size of the data is: %d rows and  %d columns' % dataframe_blobdata.shape)
  2. Inspect the first or last few rows in the following dataset:

  3. Check the data type each column was imported as using the following sample code

    for col in dataframe_blobdata.columns:
        print(dataframe_blobdata[col].name, ':\t', dataframe_blobdata[col].dtype)
  4. Check the basic stats for the columns in the data set as follows

  5. Look at the number of entries for each column value as follows

  6. Count missing values versus the actual number of entries in each column using the following sample code

    miss_num = dataframe_blobdata.shape[0] - dataframe_blobdata.count()
  7. If you have missing values for a specific column in the data, you can drop them as follows:

    dataframe_blobdata_noNA = dataframe_blobdata.dropna()

    Another way to replace missing values is with the mode function:

    dataframe_blobdata_mode = dataframe_blobdata.fillna(
        {'<column_name>': dataframe_blobdata['<column_name>'].mode()[0]})
  8. Create a histogram plot using variable number of bins to plot the distribution of a variable

  9. Look at correlations between variables using a scatterplot or using the built-in correlation function

    # relationship between column_a and column_b using scatter plot
    plt.scatter(dataframe_blobdata['<column_a>'], dataframe_blobdata['<column_b>'])
    # correlation between column_a and column_b
    dataframe_blobdata[['<column_a>', '<column_b>']].corr()


This article is maintained by Microsoft. It was originally written by the following contributors.

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