Google develops high-capacity cloud data transfer device


As any IT person knows and likely learned the hard way, you pay for every bit of data you transmit back and forth to your cloud provider. So, what do you do if you want to put a few petabytes in the cloud? The bill could hit the thousands of dollars, and it will take days to transfer it all—even under ideal circumstances.

Amazon introduced a decidedly low-tech but practical solution two years ago called Snowball. It was a storage appliance they shipped to you, which you connected to your data center network, transferred all the data at very high speeds, then sent the device back to an Amazon data center, where they transferred the data for you. It’s reminiscent of the old Sneakernet, but it worked. 

Now, Google has introduced something similar. The Google Transfer Appliance is similar in concept to Snowball but different in design and operation. For starters, the Transfer Appliance is designed to be mounted in a standard 19-in. data center rack, fitting in just like a server, while the Snowball looks more like a PC tower with the most ruggedized case design I have ever seen.

Google also gives you a lot more capacity. It offers two Transfer Appliances, a 2U device with 100TB capacity and a 4U design with 480TB in capacity. Snowball comes in 50TB and 80TB options, although if you need more, Amazon will send the AWS Snowmobile to your data center.

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