Azure Data Box is Microsoft’s Snowball and Azure’s sneakernet

Azure Data Box is Microsoft’s Snowball and Azure’s sneakernet

Microsoft‘s Azure platform is gaining a portable hard disk import capability. The shippable disk transfer device will bring them into line with Google‘s Transfer Appliance and Amazon‘s AWS Snowball (but not quite their Snowmobile). The Azure Data Box does what it says on the tin. It is a box into which you can place data. In a blog post, Dean Paron, Director, Azure Silicon Valley announces the preview for the Azure Data Box.

It looks similar to the Amazon Snowball, with what looks like an e-Ink display on the front panel. The box is ruggedised and tamper-resistant, in keeping with industry norms. The box weighs 45lb (20.4kg). It supports 100TB of data, encrypted using 256bit AES. The box connects to the network, and data is imported using SMB/CIFS protocols. You order it via the Azure portal, and it arrives, you fill it up, and ship it back.

Microsoft has also worked with their partner eco-system to ensure that the Azure Box can seamlessly integrate with solutions you may already have in the datacentre. These include Avid, Cloudlanes, Commvault,  NetApp, Peer, Rubrik, WANdisco, Veeam, and Veritas. Beta customers trialled the box, including Xerox and Oceaneering International.

In our evaluation of moving workloads to the cloud, Xerox used Azure Data Box to quickly and efficiently load terabytes of database backups from on premises servers to Azure. The integration into our data center was easy, and within a few minutes we were able to copy data to the Data Box. The entire process, from delivery to return shipping, was simple and saved us considerable time and effort! – Dennis Skrtic, Systems Consultant Principal, Xerox Corporation

If you are looking to move quantities of data into the Azure cloud, then perhaps the Azure Data Box can help. You can find one via the Azure Data Box request page.

John Dixon

John Dixon is the Principal Consultant of thirteen-ten nanometre networks Ltd, based in Wiltshire, United Kingdom. He has a wide range of experience, (including, but not limited to) operating, designing and optimizing systems and networks for customers from global to domestic in scale. He has worked with many international brands to implement both data centres and wide-area networks across a range of industries. He is currently supporting a major SD-WAN vendor on the implementation of an environment supporting a major global fast-food chain.

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