Amazon Web Services has introduced a beta of a new import/export service that allows customers of its Simple Storage Service (S3) to have their data transferred to a portable media device and is working to bring the service to nations other than the USA.
The new “AWS Import/Export” service allows customers to send Amazon a USB 2.0 or eSATA device (the latter is preferred). Amazon will then transfer the required data to the portable device and ship it to customers. Devices must have a US wall socket and consume 120 volts at 60 hertz. Form factors up to and including 8U devices will be accepted, but portable devices must not weigh more than 50 pounds.
The service is, however, currently available only to customers that use AWS’ US-based data centres. Customers using the company’s European data centres are not included in the beta.
But a blog post announcing the service states "We haven't forgotten our international users! We’re working on a number of solutions to enable international shipments to and from the US."
For now, the company’s FAQ says “the beta only supports US-based buckets, and the ship-from and ship-to address must be located within the US,” although the company is already working on support for data stored in its European data centres.
The company has not, however, mentioned shipping costs for Australian or New Zealand users of the service, which it touts as a cheaper and faster than downloading large quantities of data. Whether the service retains that benefit when users add the cost of transporting portable storage devices to and from the South Pacific remains to be seen.