Google Now Lets Users Mail in Hard Drives for Cloud Storage

Backing up large volumes of physically stored data onto the cloud can take days, weeks or even months, depending on the speed of a user's Internet connection. Rather than asking clients to take on that task on their own, Google is offering its Cloud Storage customers the option of sending physical storage media to partners that will upload it for them.

Google's new Offline Media Import/Export service is similar to Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Import/Export, which was first launched in 2009. Google is offering the service to North American customers in partnership with Iron Mountain, a Boston-based storage and information management company.

The new service not only provides a faster way for customers to import backup data into the cloud but offers them the convenience of delivering that data in the media of their choice, whether hard-disk drives, tapes, USB flash drive or something else, according to Google. The Media Import/Export service also ensures that information is encrypted during uploading, with the added option of chain-of-custody controls, Google said.

Uploads in Days Not Months

The new service is designed for companies that might currently be storing physical-media backup data on premises or in off-site facilities but could improve operations by moving that data to the cloud, product manager Ben Chong said yesterday in a post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. It's especially useful for businesses that might be "limited to a slow, unreliable, or expensive Internet connection," he said.

Even with high-speed network services for businesses, upload speeds are generally significantly slower than download speeds. For a company with a 10 Mbps DSL plan, for instance, upload speeds might actually be somewhere between 768 Kbps and 1 Mbps, according to Chong. At that rate, uploading one terabyte of data could take more than 100 days, he said.

"This also assumes that no...

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