Microsoft Releases Windows Azure Import/Export Preview

On Monday, Microsoft announced a preview of its new Windows Azure Import/Export Service. Users of the Azure platform that is hosted in Microsoft's data centers can now import and export data by shipping their hard drives to Microsoft. This means users can move large amounts of on-premise data in and out of data centers with less constraints on their networks' bandwidth.

Windows Azure is cloud computing platform that allows users to build, deploy and manage applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers.

According to the announcement, "You can use the Windows Azure Import/Export service to transfer large amounts of file data to Windows Azure Blob storage in situations where uploading over the network is prohibitively expensive or not feasible. You can also use the Import/Export service to transfer large quantities of data resident in Blob storage to your on-premises installations in a timely and cost-effective manner."

"Blob" refers to a storage service for large amounts of unstructured data that can be accessed via HTTP or HTTPS.

In a blog post on Monday, Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President in the Microsoft Server and Tools Business, said, EUOnce we receive the drives weEUll automatically transfer the data to or from your Windows Azure Storage account."

No Buts for BitLocker

What if data gets lost or stolen en route? As part of the service, Microsoft is including an encryption requirement for usersEU data protection while in transit. BitLocker encryption is mandatory. All drives must be encrypted with a BitLocker key. "Our Import/Export service provides built-in support for BitLocker disk encryption," Guthrie said.

For an export job, Microsoft will encrypt the userEUs data before shipping the drive back. BitLocker refers to an encryption feature that helps keep documents and passwords safer by encrypting the entire drive that Windows and the data reside on. Guthrie said...

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