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AWS Supersizes Its Snowball Data Transfer Appliance

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy capped off his re:Invent keynote on Wednesday by rolling a 45-foot-long truck onstage. "Introducing AWS Snowmobile," he said.

Snowmobile is the much bigger brother of Snowball, the briefcase-sized data transfer appliance that AWS unveiled at last year's re:Invent conference. Snowball was designed for organizations that need to move terabytes' worth of data from on-premises to the AWS cloud.

Snowmobile, Jassy explained, is for moving exabytes.

Upon a customer's request, AWS will drive the massive Snowmobile container -- it's 45 feet long, eight feet wide and nearly 10 feet high, with capacity for up to 100PB of data at a time -- to their location. AWS will then connect the container to the customer's network using the included cable, transfer the customer's on-premises data to the Snowmobile, and then drive the truck (with container attached) back to AWS facilities to complete the transfer.

With a transfer rate of about 1Tb per second, a customer can fill a single Snowmobile in 10 days, according to AWS evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post.

AWS is touting Snowmobile as an ideal data-transfer solution for organizations in the entertainment, scientific and financial industries because they frequently have massive quantities (and many years' worth) of data that they are only just starting to move to the cloud at a large scale.

"If you think about the idea of moving an exabyte of data from on-premises anywhere, but especially the cloud, if you basically assign a 10Gb-per-second line to it...it would take you about 26 years to move an exabyte of data from on-premises to the cloud," Jassy said during the keynote. "Using 10 Snowmobiles, would take you a little less than six months."

Besides introducing Snowmobile, Jassy also announced the Snowball Edge at Wednesday's keynote. Starting at $300, the Snowball Edge is a higher-capacity and more feature-rich version of Snowball. It has built-in storage and compute, clustering capabilities, and has twice the capacity and four times the speed of the original.

"We are excited to introduce AWS Snowball Edge, a true hybrid edge device. Not only does it allow customers to transport 100 TB of data in less than a week, but Snowball Edge also gives them the flexibility to transfer data back and forth between the Snowball Edge's location and Amazon S3, to cluster Snowballs into an on-premises storage pool, and to process data on-premises before shipping the Snowball Edge back to AWS," said Bill Vass, vice president of Storage Services at AWS, in a prepared statement.

More from re:Invent 2016

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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