Google is following a path first forged by competitor Amazon Web Services, enabling businesses to transfer large amounts of data to the cloud - via FedEx.
The new hardware and service offering is called Transfer Appliance: a server that can be filled with information from a company's own data centre and then sent back to Google for high-speed upload to the Google Cloud Platform. Rackable and standalone models are available.
100TB and 480TB versions of the server are available; storage depends on the customer's compression. For example, the larger unit can store up to 1 petabyte (PB) of data (1,000TB).
Amazon runs its own similar service called Snowball, for which it offers 50TB and 80TB servers - or up to 100PB with a dedicated truck, for seriously huge data loads. It also offers features like compute capabilities, which Google lacks.
The reason for both AWS and Google offering these dedicated upload services is to bypass the time it would take to upload hundreds of terabytes over a regular internet connection. 1PB would take about three years to upload over a 100Mbps link, for example; 10PB would take around 34 years. Transfer Appliance lowers that to less than two months, which includes transport time.
All data is stored on Transfer Appliance using Google's own tools, and encrypted using an AES 256 algorithm with a user-specified password and passphrase; Google cannot unencrypt the data itself.
Dave Bartoletti, an analyst at Forrester Research, said that initiatives like Transfer Appliance and Snowball will speed the movement of large enterprises to the cloud:
"This bulk loading method should be attractive for customers who have shied away from cloud for large data analytics or machine learning jobs because they have limited bandwidth and/or security concerns about transferring data out of their data centres."
The 100TB server costs $300 with $500 shipping, while the 480TB model is $1,800 with $900 shipping.
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