What is Azure Data Box?

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Azure Data Box is cloud solution that lets you send terabytes of data into Azure in a quick, inexpensive, and reliable way.

Microsoft send the data secured by shipping you a proprietary Data Box storage device. Each storage device has a maximum usable storage capacity of 80 TB and is transported to your datacenter through a regional carrier. The main features of that service are:

  1. Data are protected and secure data during the transit.
  2. Provides simple, secure, SSD disk-based offering for offline data transfer to Azure or from Azure to OnPrem
  3. Transport as much as 40TB of data into Azure by connecting the disks to a computer via USB or SATA
  4. Cost 100€ + shipping both ways + Egress charges if exporting from Azure
  5. 7-10 days processing time from device receipt date
  6. Data on the device is secured with an AES 256-bit encryption at all times.
  7. The device can only be unlocked with a password provided in the Azure portal.
  8. Lastly but not more important, once your data is uploaded to Azure, the disks on the device are wiped clean, in accordance with NIST 800-88r1 standards

Ok, that’s cool, but… what are the use cases?

Data Box is ideally suited to transfer data sizes larger than 40 TBs. The data movement can be one-time, periodic, or an initial bulk data transfer followed by periodic transfers. So… possible scenarios that can be:

  1. One time migration – when large amount of on-premises data is moved to Azure. Moving a media library from offline tapes into Azure to create an online media library. Migrating your VM farm, SQL server, and applications to Azure. Moving historical data to Azure for in-depth analysis and reporting using HDInsight
  2. Initial bulk transfer – when an initial bulk transfer is done using Data Box (seed) followed by incremental transfers over the network. For example, backup solutions partners such as Commvault and Data Box are used to move initial large historical backup to Azure. Once complete, the incremental data is transferred via network to Azure storage.
  3. Bulk export – when using online backup solutions from O365, and you want to transfer back the data to OnPrem. Imagine from O365 to Azure. You can backup the data to Azure, and then ship it to your datacenter
  4. Periodic uploads – when large amount of data is generated periodically and needs to be moved to Azure. For example in energy exploration, where video content is generated on oil rigs and windmill farms

So… as you can see here, Data Box is designed to move large amounts of data to Azure with little to no impact to network

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