Overheard: Word of the Day

May 22 2009   6:18PM GMT

Terabyte – two terabytes in the news

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

The National Archives lost a terabyte disk drive filled with sensitive data from the Clinton administration, including Social Security numbers and Secret Service procedures.  Had this data been on a self-encrypting drive, we would not have heard of its loss.

Pete Steege, The National Archives lose a terabyte drive filled with sensitive data

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is terabyte. A terabyte (one trillion bytes) is in the news today for two reasons — a terabyte of data of data from the Clinton administration is missing from the National Archives and Amazon has announced a new cloud service called Import/Export for moving terabytes of data to the cloud.

The interesting thing about missing data from the Clinton administration is that it was on a 2-terabyte hard drive that was left sitting on a shelf for a couple of months. And guess what? The data on it was not encrypted. What the heck???

The Amazon announcement is another WTH.  The Import/Export service is being promoted as a way to move large datasets to and from the cloud (meaning Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).)

A terabyte is a lot of data and trying to push it up to Amazon over the Internet takes a lot of bandwidth.  With Amazon Import/Export, you can move the data by off-loading it to a portable storage device and then shipping the device to Amazon.  Amazon has a handy-dandy calculator for estimating the cost of service.  They will charge you $80 for moving the data from the portable device to the storage you’ve purchased at Amazon (along with a $2.49 per data-loading-hour surcharge) and then they’ll ship the device back to you.  It might sound pricey until you consider that uploading a terabyte of data over the Internet with your T1 line is likely to take 82 days.

And oh yeah,  you may want to take a lesson from the National Archives and encrypt that data before you ship it out.

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