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What is Azure Data Box Heavy_ (1)You may have seen my previous Azure Every Day post on Azure Data Box and Azure Data Box Disk. These are a great option for getting smaller workloads, up to 80 terabytes of data, quickly up into Azure. Rather than moving it over the wire, you can send a box and bring it up.

The Data Box Heavy works the same, but you can use much larger amounts of data with up to a petabyte of space. Let’s review the Data Box process:

  • You order the box through the Azure Portal and specify the region that you’re going to use.
  • Once you receive it, connect it into your network, set up network shares and then you copy your data over. It has fast performance with up to 40 gigabits/second transfer rates.
  • Then you return the box to Microsoft and they will load the data directly into your Azure tenant.
  • Lastly, they will securely erase the disk as per the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines.

The Data Box Heavy is ideally suited to transfer data sizes larger than 500 terabytes. If you used a Data Box with it’s 80 terabytes, you’d need 5 or 6 of those in place of the Heavy. When you have those larger data sizes, it makes more sense to have it on one machine.

The data movement can be a one time or periodic thing, depending on the use case. So, if you want to do an initial bulk data load, you can move that over and then follow that up with periodic transfers.

Some scenarios or use cases would be:

  • You have a huge amount of data on prem and you want to move it up into Azure – maybe a media library of offline tapes or tape backups for some kind of online library.
  • You’re migrating an entire cabinet - you have a ton of data in there with your virtual machine farm, your SQL Server and applications – over to Azure. You can move that over into your tenant, migrate your virtual machines first, then you can do an incremental restore of data from there.
  • Moving historical data to Azure for doing deeper analysis using Databricks or HD Insight, etc.
  • A scenario where you have a massive amount of data and you want to do the initial bulk load to push it up, then from there you want to do incremental loads of additional data as it gets generated across the wire.
  • You have an organization that’s using IoT or video data with a drone – inspecting rail lines or power lines for instance. They are capturing tremendous amounts of data (video and graphic files can be huge) and they want to be able to move that up in batches. Data Box Heavy would be a great solution to quickly move these up rather than moving the files individually or over the wire.

This is a very cool technology and an exceptional solution for moving data up in a more efficient manner when you have huge, terabyte-scale amounts of data. If you require something like this, it’s surely worth checking out.If you have questions about Data Box, Data Disk or Data Box Heavy or anything Azure related, we’re here for you. We’ve done great things within the Azure platform and there are many great options there. Click the link below or contact us—we’d love to help.

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