Science

The Amazon Snowball Is A Smartbox Built For Shipping Massive Data

By Jan David Perianes , Oct 08, 2015 10:05 PM EDT

Shipping Cloud data may seem counter productive compared to uploading them from a computer directly, not to mention more expensive. That may be the case for home users and regular consumers alike. However, for companies that use terabytes to pentabytes of data, sending a courier for data transfer would seem to be the more viable and much faster option. This is where Amazon.com Inc.'s Snowball comes in - it transfers massive amounts of data to Amazon Web Services through shipping.

While SMBs to large-scale corporations use high-speed internet connection, transferring terabytes of data from a data center to a cloud service is no small feat. Amazon Inc's Snowball trashes that wait as it can transfer up to 50 terabytes of data to and from Amazon's Web Services through shipping with FedEx.

Amazon Inc. launched its first AWS Import/Export service in 2009. Chief Evangelist at Amazon Web Services Jeff Barr said that hard drives are getting bigger much faster compared to the growth rate of internet speed, and he believes the same case remains today.

The new AWS Import/Export device, the Snowball, is much faster, cleaner, simpler, more efficient and more secure. Plus, its users would not need to purchase more storage devices or upgrade their network. It is rugged enough to take a 6 G jolt, it is weather resistant and it can serve as its own shipping container, and it has everything it requires for networking and power. It even comes with an E ink display/control panel on the front.

Amazon is launching the AWS Import/Export Snowball wih important functionality so that users can ship their data to the cloud. The company is also aware of other use cases that involve moving data the other way, such as large-scale data distribution, and Amazon.com Inc. also plans to address them along the way.

As for the pricing, there is a usage charge of $200 per job on top of the shipping charges that are based on the destination and the preferred shipping method. Customers will have up to 10 days from the day after delivery to copy their data to the appliance and ship it out. Amazon will also charge extra days for $15 each.

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