Getting large amounts of content transported over a distance is a challenge. For a large data set, it is difficult or impossible to move the data over conventional Internet links, the bandwidth available just isn’t enough. It is an old truism that a FedEx truck full of storage devices (originally magnetic tape) has a faster bandwidth than any conventional network.
In order to make it easier for organizations to move data to the cloud, cloud companies have created packaged storage products that allow customers to capture their content on these products and then ship them to the cloud storage company to ingest into their storage arrays. Amazon has offered its Snowball external storage device built into a shipping container that can be filled up at a customer site and then shipped back to Amazon for ingest. Likewise, low-cost cloud storage company, Backblaze, introduced a similar Fireball external shippable storage device for capturing content for the cloud.
Other cloud storage companies face a similar challenge, helping their customers get their large data warehouses to the cloud. To help people with current data centers move their data into the Google cloud the company announced its Transfer Appliance. This device is a rackable storage server that a customer can set up in their data center, fill it up with data and then ship back to Google for ingest into their data centers.
The company is introducing 100 TB and 480 TB raw storage capacity and says with compression this makes this appliance capable of storing and shipping back up to 1 petabyte of content. The 100 TB model is priced at $300 plus shipping via FedEx (about $500) while the 480 TB model is priced at $1,800 plus shipping (about $900).
Google’s press release said that “With Transfer Appliance, you can finally take advantage of all that Google Cloud Platform has to offer — machine learning, advanced analytics, content serving, archive and disaster recovery — without upgrading your network infrastructure or acquiring third-party data migration tools.” Some companies who have used this service so far include a special effects company to replace on-premise storage and a Google X project to harvest energy using kites, which uses data imported into the cloud for analytics.
Cloud companies offer a broad range of services that can be quickly implemented and only used (and charged) as needed. Furthermore, because of their scale, these companies can implement policies offering much greater efficiencies and capabilities than many on-premise data centers can match. This offers a great opportunity for companies to trade off at least some of their possible capital expenses with operational expenses.
The trick to using these cloud services is having the data in the cloud to be processed and used.
Tom Coughlin consults and writes on digital storage and applications. He is chairman of the Storage Visions and Creative Storage Conferences, tomcoughlin.com
Source: Moving Data To The Cloud