Amazon Web Services has announced it will happily delivery 50TB of cloud data to your doorstep.
The data will arrive wrapped in a Snowball, the rugged 50TB array the company revealed last year as a way to import data to its cloudy storage services.
Amazon's idea with Snowball is that lots of people want to adopt cloud storage, but balk at the time required to make big uploads, bandwidth costs and AWS' own data movement fees. Snowball comes with an Ethernet port that AWS assumes you'll use to pump the thing full of data before trucking it to one of Jeff Bezos' cut-price bit barns. The device encrypts data, so even if the snowball falls off the back of a truck and rolls somewhere dangerous, your data should be safe.
AWS has now reversed that process: if you have data in its S3 cloud storage service you can order it to be downloaded onto a Snowball and have it trucked back to you. Again, speed and cost are the issues.
Amazon's applied all its shipping-stuff-through-meatspace skills to the export process, as the Snowball arrives complete with return address label so that once your internal upload is done, sending the array home is easy. But this doesn't look to be an option for those with skinny recovery time objectives: Amazon's default option is two-day shipping and the company doesn't say how long it will take to prepare an appliance before it's ready to ship.
More gotchas: there's a US$200 fee for each Snowball job, you'll pay $0.03 per GB to transfer data out of AWS (and fees to move data from Glacier to S3 if you need to do that) and AWS assumes you'll keep the Snowball for just ten days. Its another $15 a day after that. You also pay for shipping.
Who said cloud was supposed to be easy? ®