Even though many businesses have high speed internet connections, uploading or downloading multiple terabytes of data can still sometimes take days or weeks. What if you had several terabytes of physical hard drives that had important data on them that you needed to urgently backup? How could you rapidly get that data into the cloud?
One method that is becoming popular is low tech in a sense. IaaS providers are now beginning to accept data shipped to them on hard drives, since an entire cluster containing hundreds of terabytes of data could arrive via UPS or FEDEX overnight. When transmitting that data over the pipe, the delivery time could reach days or even weeks.
Microsoft recently wrote about the data import service on the Office 365 blog. In the post, Microsoft wrote:
“Azure provides secure data centers located throughout the world to enable you to ship or upload your data to the location closest to you.”
Once Microsoft receives that data, the drives become staged within Azure and your data is then available within OneDrive, SharePoint or other formats. Microsoft goes on to write:
“All hard drives are encrypted with BitLocker protection, and the BitLocker key is sent separately from the drives. This protects them in the event they are lost or stolen in transit. If you choose to physically ship hard drives to Microsoft datacenters, they will be returned to you once the data has been imported.”
Microsoft’s Office 365 data import feature has been beta test mode and available as a limited ordeal for some lucky end users. Organizations will now be able to integrate IaaS into their physical hardware and backup scheme, which allows for cheaper data retention costs and more flexible storage options, given the fact that Microsoft cloud data centers will be doing the work of offloading the data into your cloud storage account.