Microsoft adds hard drive import/export service to Windows Azure

It was just last week that Microsoft updated Windows Azure with its Hadoop-based HDInsight service. Today, the company announced yet another large update for the enterprise cloud-based service with many more new features, including the introduction of the Windows Azure Import/Export Service.

Microsoft VP Scott Guthrie revealed the details of the update in a blog post, stating that the Import/Export Service will let customers ship physical hard drives to a Windows Azure data center. He adds:

Once we receive the drives we’ll automatically transfer the data to or from your Windows Azure Storage account.  This enables you to import or export massive amounts of data more quickly and cost effectively (and not be constrained by available network bandwidth).

The service uses BitLocker disk encryption so that the hard drives are safe from hackers even if something happens to the drives during the shipment process. Only 3.5 inch SATA II drives are supported at this time by the Import/Export Service.

In addition, Microsoft has added a new Virtual Machine gallery, shown above, that Guthrie says should make it easier for Azure customers to make new VMs in the cloud. It includes new search and sorting options and a way to filter images such as those that might use pre-release software.

Web Sockets can now be used on Windows Azure Web Sites with this new release and it also includes support for New Relic's monitoring and analytical tools.

Source: Microsoft | Images via Microsoft

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