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Import/Export Disk

  • It accelerates moving large amounts of data into and out of the AWS cloud using portable storage devices for transport.
  • For example, if you have 500 TB data and you got a slow internet connection, i.e., 1mbps. Instead of sending the data over the internet, you can send it to Amazon through an external hard disk, and they would transfer your data directly onto and off of storage devices using Amazon's high-speed internal network and bypassing an internet.
  • Lots of people started using it, and they were all sending different types of disks, connections which became difficult to manage.
AWS Snowball

Re: invent 2015: Amazon released Standard Snowball.

Re: invent 2016: Amazon released Snowball Edge as well as Snowmobile.


AWS Snowball
  • Snowball is a petabyte-scale data transport solution that uses secure appliances to transfer large amounts of data into and out of aws.
  • It is a streamline bringing the data into aws and bypassing an internet. Instead of managing all the external disks, Amazon provided you an appliance, and you loaded an appliance with the data. Finally, the data is export from the appliance to Amazon S3.
  • The common challenges with large scale data transfers such as high network costs, long transfer time, and a security issue have been resolved by using Snowball addresses.
  • Transferring data with Snowball is simple, fast, secure and one-fifth of the cost of the high-speed internet.
  • Finally, there are 80TB Snowball in all the regions.
  • Snowball provides tamper-resistant enclosures, 256-bit encryption, and an industry-standard Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to ensure security.
  • Once the data transfer job has been processed and verified, the AWS performs software erasure of the software appliance.

Snowball Edge

AWS Snowball
  • Snowball Edge is a 100 TB data transfer device with on-board storage and compute capabilities.
  • Snowball Edge is like an AWS data center that you can bring on-premises.
  • Snowball edge can be used to move large amounts of data into and out of AWS.
  • We can also run Lambda functions from Snowball edge, it brings compute capacity where we are not able to do it. For example, an Aircraft engine manufacturer can place the Snowball edge on to the Aircraft to gather the information of how aircraft engine is running. When the Aeroplane lands, take out the Snowball edge from the Aircraft and ship it to the AWS Data Center. Therefore, we observe that the Snowball edge has both storage and compute capacity.

Following are the key features of Snowball Edge:

  • S3 - Compatible endpoint: Snowball edges contain Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 endpoints that enable the programmatic use cases.
  • File interface: File interface is used to read and write the data to AWS Snowball devices through a Network File System (NFS) mount point.
  • Clustering: You can cluster Snowball edges together to form a local storage tier and process your data on-premises to achieve 99.99% data durability across 5-10 devices and also ensures that your application continues to run even when they are not able to access the cloud.
  • Faster Data transfer: It transfers the data with a speed of up to 100 GB/second.
  • Encryption: The data transferred to Snowball Edge is automatically encrypted that are managed by Amazon Key Management Service (KMS).
  • Run AWS Lambda function: Each Snowball device has AWS IOT Greengrass core software that allows you to run Lambda functions.

Note: Greengrass software extends the cloud computing capabilities to Snowball edge devices so that the data can be computed locally, while still using the cloud for management.


  • It was announced in re: invent 2016.
  • A Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service.
  • It can transfer large amounts of data in and out of AWS.
  • You can transfer 100 PB per Snowmobile, a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck.
  • Snowmobile allows you to move massive volumes of data to the cloud, including video libraries, image repositories or even a complete migration of data center.
  • Transferring data with Snowmobile is secure, fast and cost-effective.

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