Windows Azure: Send Us Your Hard Drive

Microsoft’s Windows Azure has launched a new pilot project aimed at making it easier for organizations to upload data to the cloud computing service. When companies have very large data stores (terabytes or petabytes), transferring that data via network connections can be slow and costly due to bandwidth restrictions. To eliminate those problems, Azure will now allow companies to send physical hard drives to the Azure data center, where an employee will manually upload the data.

The Register‘s Gavin Clarke notes, “The service sounds like a backwards step but it’s important in helping Microsoft literally shovel hundreds of terabytes of customer data into Windows Azure rather than waiting for them to squeeze dribs and drabs through narrow network connections.”

In related news, Azure is also rolling out a new Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) licensing program that provides discounted pricing to enterprise customers.

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