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Microsoft has launched its Azure Import/Export service allowing Azure customers to post their hard drives to the vendor and have their data moved to Microsoft’s cloud.

For a flat fee, £59.63, customers struggling to upload large amounts of data to Microsoft’s public cloud can arrange for their hard drive to be transported to Microsoft. Microsoft will then transfer the data and send the hard drive back.

The launch of the Azure Import/Export service in the UK comes after Microsoft opened its first UK datacentres last year. The service has been available in the US since November 2013.

Microsoft’s postal service rivals Amazon Web Services’ snowmobile – a 45ft-long container which can be used to transfer up to 100 petabytes – which is available in all AWS’ datacentre regions.

The launch of the Import/Export Service comes two months after Microsoft slashed UK prices for a range of Azure storage offerings in February.

And whats a Petabyte?
The petabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix peta indicates the fifth power of 1000 and means 1015 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore 1 petabyte is one quadrillion (short scale) bytes, or 1 billiard (long scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the petabyte is PB.

1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes = 1000terabytes.

A related unit, the pebibyte (PiB), using a binary prefix, is equal to 10245 bytes, which is more than 12% greater (250 bytes = 1125899906842624bytes).