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AWS Snowball Data Transfer Tool Now Exports Also

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) has added export functionality to its appliance-based Snowball data transfer tool.

Even though its name is AWS Import/Export Snowball, customers previously could only use the tool to import their data into the AWS cloud. Now they can export it from the cloud to their own premises.

With Snowball, AWS ships hard-disk appliances to customers needing to transfer huge amounts of data -- usually more than 10 TB -- quicker than can be done over networks. The secure, encrypted appliances are shipped to customers, who onboard their data and ship them back to AWS for transfer to S3 cloud storage instances. Now the process works in reverse, also.

The appliances feature "tamper-proof" closures, impact-resistant materials, built-in cabling, and digital shipping labels to reduce the likelihood of shipping mistakes, as was reported here last October when the tool was introduced at the re:Invent conference.

"You simply log in to the AWS Management Console, create an export request, and specify the data to be exported," explained AWS exec Jeff Barr in a blog post this week. A single request can span one or more Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets. The service will determine how many appliances are needed (each one can hold up to 50 terabytes) and create the export jobs accordingly. The appliances will be prepared, data will be copied to them, and they will be shipped to the address specified in the request. You can track each of these steps using the Console."

AWS said common use cases for Snowball include cloud migration projects, disaster recovery, datacenter decommissions and content distribution, the latter intended for customers who need to regularly share large amounts of data with others, such as clients, customers or business partners.

"Snowball is a strong data transfer choice if you need to securely and quickly transfer terabytes to many petabytes of data to AWS," the company said. "Snowball can also be the right choice if you don't want to make expensive upgrades to your network infrastructure, frequently experience large backlogs of data, are in a physically isolated environment, or are in an area where high-speed Internet connections are not available or cost prohibitive."

Snowball users incur a $200 service fee per job, shipping costs, extra-day charges and 3 cents per GB data export charges, while data import is free.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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