Windows Azure Storage team is excited to announce the preview of Windows Azure Import/Export service which provides an efficient solution for importing large amounts of on- premise data into Windows Azure Blobs or exporting your Windows Azure Blobs to you!
In this blog post, we will walk you through information regarding high level capabilities, how to enroll, getting started and when to use this service.
As described in our Getting Started Guide, Windows Azure Import/Export enables moving large amounts of data in and out of Windows Azure Blobs into your Windows Azure Storage account. You can ship TBs of encrypted data via hard disk drives through FedEx to our data centers where Microsoft’s high-speed internal network is used to transfer the data to or from your blob storage account.
The following requirements need to be followed:
To make drive preparation easy, we have provided a tool called WAImportExport.exe. More information on how to use the tool can be found here. Once the drives are prepared, you can login into Windows Azure Management Portal to
The following MSDN article talks in depth about the steps involved and also answers some of the frequently asked questions. In addition to the management portal, you can also use the REST interface to create or manage your import/export jobs.
Users can choose one of the following methods to interface with Windows Azure Import/Export service:
Mandatory requirement to encrypt data in the drive with a BitLocker key
3.5 inch SATA II hard drives
Note: You can easily transfer your data from your machine via USB to a SATA II drive by using one of the SATA to USB adaptors:
Supported Maximum Disk Capacity
Maximum Number of Jobs per Azure Subscription
Maximum number of drives per job
Supported file format
The following shipping options are available:
If you have TB’s of data, Windows Azure Import/Export can move data in and out of Windows Azure blobs much faster than uploading and downloading data over the Internet.
The factors that come into play when choosing are to use the import/export service versus transferring the data over the internet are:
Large data sets take very long time to upload or download over the internet. 10 TB could take years over T1 (1.5Mbps) or a month over T3 (44.7 Mbps). Customers can ship the drive using Windows Azure Import/Export service and significantly cut down the data upload or download time. The Windows Azure Import/Export service would take only a handful of days in addition to shipping time to transfer the data versus weeks/months/years for transferring the data over the internet.
Customers can calculate the time it would take to transfer their data over the internet. If it is more than a handful of days and the import/export service is available for their region, then they should consider using Windows Azure Import/Export service. However, for customers already having good peering or for smaller amounts of data, Windows Azure Copy tool could instead be used to efficiently import/export data from/to on premise.
The Import/Export service can only accept shipments that originate from U.S. locations during preview release, and can return packages only to U.S. addresses. The service supports importing data to and exporting data from storage accounts in the following regions:
Note, the import/export service currently runs in only a few of the U.S. regions for preview. This means you may need to ship your drives to a different region from where you storage account resides. If the storage account is different from the region to which you have to ship the drives you will see “The selected datacenter region and storage account region are not the same” in the portal when creating the job.
If your storage account resides in a European or Asian data center, you must ship your drive to one of the supported regions in the U.S., and the shipment must originate from within the U.S. The Import/Export service will then copy the data to or from your storage account in Europe or Asia.
The Windows Azure Import/Export service will charge a drive handling fees of $80 per drive, and during the preview the drive handling fee will be at a discounted rate of $40 per drive. Regular storage transactions will apply for putting (import) and getting (export) the blobs from your storage account.
For import jobs, there is no ingress charge for the copy operation.
For export jobs, there will be data transfers fees for copying data between Windows Azure regions. For example, if your storage account resides in West Europe and you ship your drive to the East US data center, you will incur egress charges for moving the data from West Europe to East US in order to export it. In contrast, if your storage account resides in West US and you are told to ship your disks to West US then there are no egress charges for your export job.
More details on pricing can be found here.
This preview release is available only to users with a token. If you are interested in using this service, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
We will review the information before approving your request to allow you to use the service.
We are continuously making improvements to make this service better and very much value your feedback. Please feel free to leave comments and questions below or send an email to email@example.com.
Aung Oo, Jai Haridas and Brad Calder