Google just added a new service to Google Cloud Storage that will allow developers to send their hard drives to Google to import very large data sets that would otherwise be too expensive and time-consuming to import. For a flat fee of $80 per hard drive, Google will take the drive and upload the data into a Cloud Storage bucket. This, Google says, can be “faster or less expensive than transferring data over the Internet.” The service is now in limited preview for users with a U.S.-based return address.
Platforms like AWS and Google’s Cloud Platform are obviously great for analyzing large data sets. As Google software engineer Lamia Youseff notes in today’s announcement, however, “transferring large data sets (in the hundreds of terabytes and beyond) can be expensive and time-consuming over the public network.” Uploading 5 terabytes of data over a 100Mbps line could easily take a day or two and most developers may not even have these kinds of connections.
Amazon, it’s worth noting, already offers a very similar service. It, too, charges $80 per hard drive, but in typical Amazon fashion, the company also charges a per-hour fee for importing the data. Importing a 5 terabyte hard drive to S3, Amazon calculates, will cost an additional $45 for an eSATA drive, which makes Google’s flat-fee service significantly cheaper. While Amazon also allows you to export your data using a hard disk, though, Google doesn’t currently offer this service.