Explore data in Azure blob storage with Pandas

This document covers how to explore data that is stored in Azure blob container using Pandas Python package.

The following menu links to topics that describe how to use tools to explore data from various storage environments. This task is a step in the 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 BlobService
     import tables
     STORAGEACCOUNTNAME= <storage_account_name>
     STORAGEACCOUNTKEY= <storage_account_key>
     LOCALFILENAME= <local_file_name>        
     CONTAINERNAME= <container_name>
     BLOBNAME= <blob_name>
     #download from blob
     print(("It takes %s seconds to download "+blobname) % (t2 - t1))
  2. Read the data into a Pandas data-frame from the downloaded file.

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

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()
     print miss_num
  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() dataframe_blobdata_noNA.shape

    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()