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July 19, 2017

Google Cloud challenges AWS to a Snowball fight

Want to move large amounts of data to Google's cloud? Well it's come up with a solution.

By James Nunns

Google wants to help businesses to move larger amounts of data into its cloud and out of businesses data centres.

The newly announced “Transfer Appliance” is similar to the Amazon Web Services offering Snowball, but will offer either a 100TB/2U or 480TB/4U device that will sit in 19” racks and almost double in capacity once data is compressed.

Ben Chong, Product Manager, Transfer Appliance, wrote on the Google Cloud Platform blog: “In the world of cloud and exponential data growth, the size of the disk and the speed of your sneakers may have changed, but the solution is the same: Sometimes the best way to move data is to ship it on physical media,” whilst making a reference to Sneakernet.

Read more: Google Glass returns with an Enterprise Edition

The company says that Transfer Appliance is a “rackable high-capacity storage server” that can be set up in a user’s data centre, filled up with data and then shipped back to Google where it will be uploaded to Google Cloud Storage.

For those worried about security, Google says that the appliance encrypts data at capture and it can be decrypted once it reaches its final cloud destination.

The sizes on offer puts them ahead of the AWS Snowball, which is on offer at 50TB and 80TB, although the AWS Snowmobile, which offers 100 petabytes in a large truck (lorry) is miles ahead in terms of storage size on offer.

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Google’s offering is also only in beta, whilst AWS has been up and running for a while and is live in 11 AWS regions, in addition to its government cloud.

Read more: Google opens London cloud region as GCP aggressively expands

Offering a similar service to that of AWS is an understandable one, Google wants to be seen as a real contender in the cloud enterprise market, so helping customers with extremely large amounts of data, typically enterprises, move to its cloud is sensible.

Pricing for the 100TB appliance will be $300 and will be free for 10 days, but $30 a day late fee will be added after that. The 480TB appliance will cost $1800 and will be free for 25 days but a late fee of $90 a day will be incurred after that.

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