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Google Nearline Cloud Service Targets Microsoft, Amazon

Google's Nearline service promises instant access to cold data stored for one cent per gigabyte.
8 Ways IoT Will Change IT Forever
8 Ways IoT Will Change IT Forever
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Google is helping businesses store cold data on the cheap with Google Cloud Storage Nearline. The service, announced March 11, could change how companies feel about online storage.

Nearline offers a means of storing corporate data that is not frequently accessed by employees or customers -- so-called cold data -- but that should be available when needed. The amount of global data, especially the data that business need to store for legal or regulatory reasons, is growing at an exponential rate.

Businesses need easy access to frequently used data and cold data when necessary, but they also need to move easily between the two.

"Organizations can no longer afford to throw data away, as it's critical to conducting analysis and gaining market intelligence," wrote Avtandil Garakanidze, product manager for the Google Cloud team, in a blog post on the news. "But they also can't afford to overpay for growing volumes of storage."

[More on Cloud: Microsoft, Cisco expand partnership.]

Google doesn't want companies to feel that they have to delete data or move files to cold storage. The company has created a fast-response service that backs up data and provides easy access to data for a cost of one cent per month for each gigabyte of data at rest. Nearline automatically spreads copies of data throughout multiple data centers, where it is reportedly retrievable within three seconds.

Nearline has the same durability and comparable availability to its Standard storage service, according to Google, but at a lower price. The competitive price is possible because Nearline uses the same system as Google's other storage offerings and offers the same security features. It also shares APIs with Google's Standard storage.

Cold-storage services for non-essential data are nothing new. More businesses have been growing used to the idea of storing data in tiers depending on how often it's needed. Cold storage is usually ideal for data that can't be thrown away, but doesn't always need to be readily available.

Google's Nearline is the latest indication that more businesses are trusing their data in the cloud. The service, which is now available in beta, could prove a competitive threat to Amazon's Glacier and Microsoft's Azure cloud service.

To broaden its reach, Google has partnered with multiple storage companies as Nearline is introduced. Participants include NetApp, Geminare, Veritas/Symantec, and Iron Mountain, which will accept disks of data and directly upload them into Nearline.

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Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing