Transferring terabytes or even petabytes of data on to server farms in "The Cloud" can take a long time, even if you have a very fast connection. Google are now following Amazon by offering a service where you can mail in your hard drive to be loaded into the Cloud
There's an old saying, "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of hard disks" and that's just what we are talking about here. You may have your data securely backed up onto hard drives or LTO tape but there are advantages to putting into the cloud. Universal access and search capabilities being just two of them. But if your data runs into terabytes then the transfer times will be huge.
Google Cloud Storage has just started a limited preview of a service called "Offline disk import"
You send your encrypted hard drives to Google by mail and they will copy the data into an empty Cloud storage "bucket" where you can access it. The transfer costs $80 per drive regardless of size. At the moment this service is only available in the USA but you can sign up for more information here
"It's a very early feature for us," a Google spokesperson said. "Once it's in Google's cloud, you will be charged for what you store or do with the data. The pricing will differ depending on if you just use Cloud Storage or take action on that data with App Engine or BigQuery, our respective PaaS [platform as a service] and analytics services."
Amazon and Rackspace have been offering similar services with slightly different pricing. The Amazon service is called AWS Import/Export and charges $80 per disk plus an hourly fee for transferring the data. Rackspace charges $90 per drive plus an optional $15 fee to destroy the drive after the transfer.
According to Amazon these are the conditions when you should consider mailing in the drive instead of uploading over the internet:
|Available Internet Connection||Theoretical Min. Number of Days to Transfer 1TB at 80% Network Utilization||When to Consider AWS Import/Export?|
|T1 (1.544Mbps)||82 days||100GB or more|
|10Mbps||13 days||600GB or more|
|T3 (44.736Mbps)||3 days||2TB or more|
|100Mbps||1 to 2 days||5TB or more|
|1000Mbps||Less than 1 day||60TB or more|