If you need to move large amounts of data between Azure and your premises it can take a considerable amount of time to upload or download everything. For large data transfer, Azure offers the Import/Export facility.


  • You need at least one existing Classic storage account. All files need to be moved to/from the blob service of a Classic storage account.
  • In the Azure Management Portal an Import or Export job needs to be created
  • Make sure you have the latest version of the Import/Export tool installed
  • Hardware Prerequisites
    • 5 inch SATA II/III internal hard drives need to be used
    • each drive can have a capacity of up to 10 TB
    • only the first data volume on each drive will be processed
    • the drives must be formatted with NTFS (HFS+, ext4, FAT and others are unsupported)
    • further details can be found by following the link at the bottom of this article


A word on Encryption

Your drive needs to be encrypted with BitLocker Drive Encryption.

  • Import Jobs
    • The import tool can complete the encryption for you
    • You can complete the encryption manually and provide the encryption key to the tool
  • Export Jobs
    • The Import/Export team will encrypt your drive once your data is copied. You will be able to view the encryption key in the Classic portal.


When creating an import or export job the available Azure locations will be shown to you.

  • Please note that some locations may be under maintenance and will therefore not come up in the selection
  • It is highly recommended to create the job before posting any drives
  • If you post your drives to the wrong data centre by accident, please open a support case to get them rerouted as soon as possible
  • If you post your drives to a datacentre location that does not match the datacentre location of the import/export storage account an egress charge may apply
    • If this egress charge occurs because your chosen location is under maintenance, you can usually open a billing ticket to request a refund for the charges incurred.

Physical Shipping

  • Please use one parcel per drive
  • Please only use the approved carrier(s) for your region
  • If anything goes wrong, please open a support ticket as soon as possible, so that the ground staff processing the jobs can be made aware

Your job in progress


You still need to provide some information, before the job can be processed.


Your job is now ready. Please send the disks to the data centre. Once they have arrived they will be processed on the next working day.

To ensure the fastest possible handling of your job, try to time it in such a way that it arrives early in the week and not on a bank holiday.


Your data is being transferred. Depending on the type of data the duration of this can vary. If you feel like the transfer is stuck, please open a support ticket and an engineer can check on the status.

You can also query the status via the REST API to get a completion percentage.


The ground staff is preparing your drives to be shipped back.


The drives have been dispatched back to you. A tracking number will be provided.

Creating an Import Job


Creating an Export Job


Can I import into an ARM storage account?

The short answer is “No”, however there are a couple of work arounds.

(1) Convert the Classic storage account into an ARM storage account

If your storage account was used solely for the import operation, and you would like it to become an ARM storage account after the import operation completes, there are a couple of PowerShell commands you can run to make this conversion.

# log into both ARM and Classic environments

# Select subscription
Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionId "Your Subscription Id"

Register-AzureRmResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.ClassicInfrastructureMigrate

Move-AzureStorageAccount -Prepare -StorageAccountName "Your Classic Storage Account's name"

# you will now see the storage account as both an ARM and a Classic representation in the portal
# if you are happy run this command next; this will remove the classic account and leave only the ARM account
Move-AzureStorageAccount -Commit -StorageAccountName "Your Classic Storage Account's name"

# if something is not right, you can revert the changes before commiting with this command
Move-AzureStorageAccount -Abort -StorageAccountName "Your Classic Storage Account's name"

More information: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-windows-ps-migration-classic-resource-manager/

For the commands to execute properly, you will need to have Azure PowerShell installed. You can download it here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/

Please note that the new storage account will be the same type and access tier as the original storage account. If you would like to change these parameters, please follow solution 2

(2) Create a new ARM storage account and copy the imported data across

If you would like to change the access tier or account type, or if the classic storage account needs to remain in place for other existing data, then copying the data after the import is the best option.

As long as both storage accounts reside in the same Azure region, the copy should be reasonably quick. If they reside on the same storage cluster within an Azure region, then the copy should be instant.

The most user friendly way to do a copy operation between two storage accounts is through Storage Explorer.

You can download the programme here and also find instructions on how to use it. http://storageexplorer.com/

More Information