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Table of contents
Transfer Appliance
Security Features
Suitability of Use
Ordering Transfer Appliance
Permissions Required
Order the Appliance
Before Starting
Preparing for the Appliance
Receive the Appliance
Copying Data
Completing the Copy
Enable or disable online transfer
Online Transfer
Offline Transfer
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Google transfer appliance?
What is the difference between a cloud sync task and a cloud transfer task?
What are the different ways of data transfer to GCP?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Transfer Appliance

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


Imagine that you have a company and you have a lot of business information with you. As this information keeps getting piled up, you are looking for a place to upload them. But it is in terabytes now and almost impossible to do so using your local connection. You are also facing the risk of data theft. Standing at a point where your competitors might try intercepting the data as you upload them. This is where Google Transfer Appliance comes to play. Today we will find out about Google Transfer Appliance and its features.

Transfer Appliance

Transfer Appliance

Transfer Appliance is a high-capacity storage device that lets users safely transmit their data to a Google upload facility. After it gets received at Google, it gets uploaded to Cloud Storage. It gets done under high security and collaboration between Google and the client.

Security Features

The data and network security of the user are very essential. Transfer Appliance helps to guarantee that the user is connecting a trusted machine to their own device and network. It also secures the data in an end-to-end fashion. This makes sure that the trusted people only read it.

Transfer Appliance gives the following features to make sure that it is safe and trusted to connect users' devices.

  • Tamper-resistant: The transfer Appliance is tamper-resistant, and troublemakers cannot open its physical case. Google can also add special tags which are tamper-evident to the shipping case. It is to make sure the user can see and check the goodness of each Appliance's physical case.
  • Ruggedized: The container in which the Appliance gets shipped is made rugged. It is to make sure that the data can reach safely.
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip: There is a Trusted Platform Module chip in the Transfer Appliance. Google validates the Platform Configuration Registers of TPM. It is to make sure that the software components and root filesystem have not been tampered with or compromised.
  • Hardware attestation: Google employs a remote attestation process. They do it to validate the Appliance before the user can connect it to their device and copy the relevant data to it. If anything goes wrong, Google communicates with the user and makes sure to send a new appliance.

Transfer Appliance protects the users' data during and after transit by applying the following features:

  • AES 256 encryption: To keep users' data safe, it gets protected using industry-standard encryption.
  • Customer-managed encryption keys: Google utilises encryption keys that the users maintain using the Cloud Key Management Service (Cloud KMS). It lets the users control and secures their data before returning an appliance to Google. 
  • NIST 800-88 compliant data erasure: After uploading the data to Cloud Storage, Google safely wipes the data from Transfer Appliance. The user can also ask for a wipe certificate to confirm that google has erased the data.


Being Fast and efficient is one of the priorities of the Transfer Appliance. The following features have been added to the Transfer Appliance to make the users move their data fast and with high efficiency.

  • All SSD drives: It gives increased reliability compared to hard disc drives to guarantee a seamless transfer.
  • Multiple network connectivity options: Using a 10Gbps RJ45 interface or a 40Gbps QSFP+ interface, users can quickly transfer data from their devices to Transfer Appliance.
  • Scalability with multiple appliances: Users can boost the speed of their transfers by ordering additional appliances. By doing this, the users can scale their transfers.
  • Globally distributed processing: Decreased shipping times to and from Google makes sure that the users' data is transferred to Cloud Storage as quickly as possible.
  • Minimal software: Minimal software helps to copy directly to Transfer Appliance for Linux and Apple macOS systems by mounting the exposed NFS share on the Appliance to the workstation. It gets done with standard software already installed on the system. Copy directly from the workstation to Transfer Appliance utilising SCP on Microsoft Windows computers.

Suitability of Use

Transfer Appliance can be an excellent choice for our data transfer requirements if:

  • If the user is an existing Google Cloud customer.
  • If the data is in the locations where Transfer Appliance may be available.
  • If it could take more than one week to upload the data and information over the network.
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After Job

Ordering Transfer Appliance

Let us have a look at how Transfer Appliance can be ordered through the Google Cloud console.

Permissions Required

For access to the ordering screen, the Google Cloud console needs the following predefined role:

  • Transfer Appliance Admin

For giving read-only access to the order information, we have to give the following role:

  • Transfer Appliance Viewer 

Order the Appliance

After the needed permissions are given, we have to visit the order page at the following link. This is where we can order the Appliance.


If we want to use the Transfer Appliance, we have to get it in our hands first. Let's see the basic steps for ordering, installing, and returning Transfer Appliance. We will see the expected interactions between the user and Google.

Before Starting

Use the list below before purchasing a Transfer Appliance. It is to make sure that the environment is compatible with Transfer Appliance.

  1. In relation to the Transfer Appliance specifications
    1. The environment has the required Power capabilities.
    2. The environment has the needed Cooling capabilities.
    3. The environment meets the required Physical space requirements.
  2. Find the servers and folders containing the data to be transferred.
  3. Make sure that the employee executing the transfer has the necessary permissions to access the data.
  4. Reviewing and making sure that the data fulfils the below criteria:
    • Individual files are no bigger than five terabytes (TB). 
    • The file names adhere to the object naming conventions. 
    • Files can be either conventional files or hidden files in the Unix style. Hidden files in Unix format begin with a (.) character. 
    • Folders are containers for files. Because items do not live in subdirectories inside a Cloud Storage bucket, no empty folders are produced. 
    • The maximum path length is 1024 bytes, including the optional object prefix supplied when the user provides bucket setup parameters to Transfer Appliance Team. 

Preparing for the Appliance

Do the following to prepare for the Transfer Appliance:

  1. When the user is ready, they can apply for Transfer Appliance from the same Google Cloud project as the destination Cloud Storage bucket. To be eligible for the Transfer Appliance, one must be the project's Owner. When applying for Transfer Appliance, users can choose whether to utilise their Appliance offline or online. In offline mode, users can copy data to the Appliance as well. 
  2. When Google accepts the Transfer Appliance application, they'll send the user an email asking them to undertake a site survey. This survey makes sure that google identifies the right Appliance for one's needs and gets the address to which the Appliance will be shipped. 
  3. When Google is ready, they will send the user an email with instructions on how to set up IAM permissions and storage.

This phase prepares the Cloud Storage bucket in which the data will be stored, as well as the Cloud KMS keys that will be used to encrypt the data on the Appliance.

Receive the Appliance

An important part of the process is to receive the Appliance properly. The users can follow these steps to do the same:

  1. Track the delivery of the Appliance. When it is delivered to the mailing address, Google will notify the user through email. It is recommended to check the contents of the package to confirm that it has everything the user needs to use the Appliance.
  2. Check that the Appliance was not tampered with during shipping before connecting it to the network.
  3. With the Transfer Appliance Attestation Passcode provided by the Appliance, contact the Transfer Appliance Team. If the Appliance has not been tampered with, the Transfer Appliance Team will either give the user login credentials or arrange for another Appliance to get shipped to the user.
  4. The user is recommended to do the following after receiving access credentials from the Transfer Appliance Team:
    1. Set up IP network ports.
    2. Integrate the Appliance into the network.
    3. Set up the appliance software. 

Copying Data

After receiving the Appliance, the next step for the user would be to copy data to the Appliance. The steps to do that would be: 

1. The user can copy data to the Appliance using the copy tools of their choice.

2. Double-check that all the data has been copied to the Appliance before finishing.

3. Finalise the data that has been copied.

4. Enter the passcode supplied by the "ta finalise" command on the form included in the Transfer Appliance Team's email titled "Google Transfer Appliance Return Instructions".

The user can "run ta" status to see the passcode again.

5. The Transfer Appliance Team responds with the mailing label for the specified passcode's Transfer Appliance.

6. Turn off the Appliance and unhook all cables once the shipping label has been received.

7. Package and return the Appliance after getting the shipping label.

Completing the Copy

Google completes a few steps after the Appliance has been returned by the user. Let us have a look at them:

  1. Google verifies that they have received the Appliance. This is done through email.
    When the Appliance arrives at Google's data transfer facility, the Transfer Appliance Team will notify the user through email. They'll begin moving data from the Appliance to the Cloud Storage bucket specified in the "Prepare IAM permissions and storage" step.
    When the transfer is happening, a few things take place with it.
    • Data sent from the Appliance is shown in the Cloud Storage bucket.
    • There are two directories created.
      • A directory called storage-transfer contains the Transfer service for on-premises data logs.
      • A cloud-ingest directory is used to organise the data uploaded from the Appliance to the Transfer Appliance bucket of choice. 
        Once the data transfer is finished and the data is completely available in the Transfer Appliance bucket, the user can delete these directories.
  2. Google will verify that the transfer has taken place.
    The Appliance team will email the user when they have finished transferring the data to the Cloud Storage bucket.
  3. Google will validate the data in the target Cloud Storage bucket to ensure that it has been transferred correctly.
  4. Optionally, the user can ask Google to provide a Transfer Appliance wipe certificate. This is to guarantee that all data has been safely deleted after being copied to Cloud Storage. The users may contact the Transfer Appliance Team if they want a wipe certificate.

Enable or disable online transfer

Google gives the option to transfer the data from the Appliance in two modes. The user can toggle between offline and online mode so select. The two modes the Transfer Appliance has are Online transfer and Offline transfer.

Online Transfer

Data copied to the Appliance is streamed to users' Cloud Storage bucket via online transfer. The data is removed from the Appliance once it has been uploaded to the Cloud Storage bucket. When compared to "gsutil" and other command-line utilities, online transfer compresses and encrypts data in transit and speeds up data transfer. Outbound internet access is required for online transfers. 

Offline Transfer

In offline transfer, the user copies data to the Appliance until it is fully loaded. Then the user ship it back to Google to have the copied data transferred to their Cloud Storage bucket. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Google transfer appliance?

Transfer Appliance is a high-capacity storage device from google. It lets users safely transfer and transport their data to a Google upload facility, where Google will upload the data to Cloud Storage.

What is the difference between a cloud sync task and a cloud transfer task?

Transfer tasks only allow us to specify a single cloud or a single folder within a cloud as the destination. Sync jobs allow us to choose several clouds or folders inside clouds as the destination.

What are the different ways of data transfer to GCP?

There are three methods for transmitting data between the private data centre and Google Cloud: A public internet connection that has been obtained through the use of a public API. Direct Peering through the use of a public API. A private API is used to link clouds.


In the article, we read about Transfer Appliance in google. We also read about its security features and how a large amount of data can be transferred with it. We went for an overview and saw the steps of the whole transfer process, including permission, preparation and copying. Refer to our courses and explore Coding Ninjas Studio to find more exciting stuff. You can also look into the interview experiences and solve different problems. Look into our Guided paths, test series, libraries and resources to know more. You can learn about Cloud Computing and find our courses on Data Science and machine learning. Do not forget to check out more blogs on GCP to follow.

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