Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud-computing service all of us have likely used at one point or another. It's a massive cloud infrastructure that even Netflix relies on to function. Using AWS is as easy as setting up an account and transferring your data on to its servers, but there are companies and organizations out there that have petabytes or even exabytes (1 exabyte = 1 million terabytes) of data they may want to transfer, with no realistic way of doing so. Examples include scientific data collections, satellite imagery, movie vaults, or financial records.
Amazon went part way to solving this issue last year when it introduced a data-transfer appliance called AWS Snowball, which looks like a large desktop PC. Each Snowball can hold 80TB of data, which Amazon then ships back to a data center and uploads to AWS. However, 80TB at a time is too small when talking about petabytes of data, so Amazon had to think bigger.
This week, Amazon unveiled AWS Snowmobile. It's a shipping container measuring 9.6 by 8 by 45 feet, and is capable of storing 100 petabytes of data. The container hooks up to a customer's network and appears as a local storage volume that files can be transferred to in encrypted form.
Once full, the container is locked down to form a waterproof, climate-controlled storage locker that is GPS tracked and under video surveillance. Amazon even provides a security vehicle escort and dedicated security guards if required.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
- How This Massive Structure in the Oregon Desert Keeps Facebook Running How This Massive Structure in the Oregon Desert Keeps Facebook Running
One hundred petabytes is a lot of data. The Snowmobile can handle transfers at a rate of up to 1Tb/second, but even so, it will take a minimum of 10 days to fill. However, it still works out to be much faster and more cost effective than transferring the same amount of data over the Internet.The example Amazon gives is moving an exabyte of data using a 10Gbps dedicated connection. It would take 26 years, where as Snowmobile deliveries will achieve the same transfer in six months.
Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but Amazon states it will be a "less expensive" way of performing data transfers at this scale.
For now, Amazon is offering AWS Snowmobile in all its data center regions for transferring data on to AWS servers. However, it is also looking into allowing data exports using Snowmobile, which some customers are already requesting.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe