Windows Azure users can use hard drives to import and export data

The new service matches similar services from competitors like Google, AWS

Microsoft is offering Windows Azure customers the facility of transferring their data offline to and from Azure storage accounts using hard disk drives.

The company launched Monday a preview of the import and export service that provides built-in support for BitLocker disk encryption, which enables users to encrypt data on the hard drives before they send it.

The service provides an efficient solution for importing large amounts of on-premise data into Windows Azure Blobs or exporting Windows Azure Blobs, the company said in a post. Windows Azure Blob storage is a service for storing large amounts of unstructured data that can be accessed via HTTP or HTTPS.

Users don't have to worry if the disks are lost or stolen in transit because only users will have the key to the encrypted data, wrote Scott Guthrie, a Microsoft corporate vice president in the company's server and tools business, in a blog post. The company is shipping a drive preparation tool to make it easier to set up the encryption on the hard drives, he added.

Once the hard drives reach a Windows Azure data center through FedEx, they will be uploaded to a storage account. Empty hard drives can also be sent to the center to export data. Import and export jobs can be set up and managed using the Windows Azure management portal or the REST interface.

Offline import and export is faster, helps cut costs and reduces dependence on network bandwidth for massive amounts of data, Guthrie wrote.

Microsoft's competitors like Google and Amazon Web Services already offer similar services.

The service from Microsoft is currently offered at US$40 per storage device under a 50 percent discount during the preview period. The company does not charge a data transfer charge between the device and Azure storage within the same data center.

The service, being previewed in the U.S., only supports 3.5-inch SATA II hard drives. Hard drives above 4TB are not supported during the preview, and no more than 10 drives can be processed per job, the company said. The import/export service only operates in a few regions of the U.S., so that customers with storage accounts in parts of the U.S., Europe or Asia have to ship their drives to supported data centers in the U.S., and the shipment must originate from within the U.S., according to Microsoft.

Microsoft announced last week the general availability release of Windows Azure HDInsight, which it described as a fully compatible Hadoop service that allows users to provision and manage Hadoop clusters for big data processing in Windows Azure.

This week, Windows Azure also introduced more features such as a Virtual Machine gallery that can be used to create new VMs in the cloud and the free use of Web Sockets with Windows Azure websites. It also introduced a new billing alert service that sends email alerts when the customer's bill crosses a certain predefined level.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computingMicrosoftinternetManaged Services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?