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Google sweetens the pot on cold storage

July 23, 2015, 1:57 PM UTC
Aisle between files stored on shelves
Photograph by Lester Lefkowitz — Getty Images

Google’s Nearline archival storage service, announced in March, is now broadly available.

Nearline is for the sorts of data and documents that, in the physical world, would be stored away in basements or back-room file cabinets.The information may be important but is not accessed every day.

Google is pitching Nearline as an easy and “limitless” backup service but perhaps most importantly, it claims that the data can be accessed in a matter of seconds rather than hours, as is the case with other archival services.

And to woo customers from those unnamed other services, the company is offering a “Switch and Save” promotion for new cloud customers. If they come to Nearline (and are not already users of other Google (GOOG) Cloud Platform offerings) they’ll get a hefty 100 petabytes of storage for free. And by “other services” Google probably means Amazon(AMZN) Web Services Glacier archival storage, which is inexpensive but has been criticized for also being slow.

Nearline storage costs can go as low as 1 cent per gigabyte of data at rest, Google said. Glacier pricing is here.

Interestingly, Google has lined up a bunch of storage backup partners — including Veritas, NetApp, and Iron Mountain—to make it easier for businesses running their storage gear to upload data to the Nearline service. In the past a company like Iron Mountain would have been the destination for the sorts of files and data that Nearline will handle.

Here’s the thing: Google Cloud Platform has massive resources but is still fighting for traction among business customers, many of which equate AWS with cloud and many of which are also big Microsoft(MSFT) shops who might be inclined to turn to Microsoft Azure for their cloud computing needs. If Google can wrangle the files of some of these big customers for Nearline, then other workloads and data may follow.

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