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Ship my drives: Windows Azure import and export service enters preview

If it’s stored in the cloud, it ships. Microsoft’s Windows Azure Storage team debuted an import/export service for transporting large Azure blobs in to and out of Azure.  Currently in preview, the feature lets admins transport a large amount of data efficiently without incurring high bandwidth costs.

The service can only accept shipments that originate in the United States and return to U.S. addresses right now. Interested IT shops can import to and export from these regions: East US, West US, North Central US, South Central US, North Europe, West Europe, East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Microsoft will charge an $80 handling fee for the service but will offer it at $40 during the preview period. There are also additional charges for copying data between Windows Azure regions. There are additional requirements with using the service, such as a 4 TB maximum disk size limit and being able to only ship 10 drives per job.

Cloud competitors like Rackspace offer similar features.

The news was part of a host of additions and improvements to Azure, including access control lists and HD Insights.

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