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Google joins Amazon, HP, Rackspace in easing HDD data importing

'Give us your disks!' bellows Chocolate Factory.

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Google has followed in the footsteps of Amazon by making it easier for businesses to load in masses of data to the company's cloud platform.

On Tuesday Google announced it is letting companies ship their encrypted data in on HDDs, which Google will then load into Google Cloud Storage on their behalf. Other cloud providers that offer this service include HP, Rackspace, and Amazon, which pioneered the technique and began offering it in 2009.

Google is charging a flat fee of $80 per HDD regardless of drive capacity, a price that, funnily enough, matches Amazon's $80 "drive handling" fee, though Amazon also charges $2.49 per data-loading-hour – and in the spirit of big box providers the world over bills a partial hour as a full hour.

This product deals with one of the main problems of fiddling with rented IT infrastructure – if you need to compute over a massive dataset, getting it into a cloud requires the patience of a saint and the luck of one as well unless you have a reliable, high-speed connection.

While the service is in preview the feature is only broadly available to customers with a return address in the United States, but if you're outside the country and want to use it, Google advises you to get in touch.

As far as we can tell, with this announcement Microsoft remains the only one of the big four cloud providers (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace) to not officially offer such a feature, though we understand Redmond may do so on a one-time basis for sufficiently important customers. Microsoft had not responded to requests for further information at the time of writing. ®

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