Cloud seeding is a strategy for uploading large amounts of data to a cloud storage service. Transferring a sizable amount of data to the cloud can take days, weeks or even years. To help decrease transmission time, some cloud storage providers offer a seeding option in which a disk drive or other appliance is sent to the customer, who then backs up data locally and ships the drive/appliance back to the provider.
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The customer's data is then copied to the cloud provider’s servers, “seeding” the customer’s initial full backup. Once this process has been accomplished, future backups are incremental, and the customer’s servers only back up blocks of data that have changed since the initial seed was completed.
AWS Snowmobile's cloud seeding service transfers huge amounts of data by big rig truck. According to Amazon, the truck's shipping containers allow 100 petabytes of data to be moved a few weeks, plus transport time. In contrast, the same transfer could take more than 20 years to accomplish over a direct connect line with a 1Gbps connection.