Microsoft is previewing a new service which helps to eliminate one obstacle that stands in the way of people looking to try out cloud storage services. Whatever the quantity of data involved, if you want to test drive a service, you’ll need to spend time uploading it — and this has security, as well as time, implications.
The preview of the new Windows Azure Import/Export service overcomes this problem, but not necessarily in the way you might first think. Rather than uploading data over a cable connection, it is instead shipped via FedEx.
Hard drives encrypted using BitLocker can be couriered to Microsoft’s data centers where the data can be quickly transferred to a customer’s blob storage account. The Windows Azure Management Portal can be used to set up and manage Import/Export jobs.
Despite the fact that customers retain the encryption key to their data during transportation, it remains to be seen whether this will be a popular method of transferring data.