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AWS Snowmobile! What is that?


AWS Snowmobile is an Exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move large volumes of data to AWS. An AWS Snowmobile is a 45-foot-long rugged shipping container hauled by a semi-trailer truck, and it can shift up to 100PB of data per Snowmobile. This makes it easy to move large amounts of data to the cloud, including video libraries, image repositories, or even complete data center migration. Transferring data by Snowmobile is much safer, faster, and less expensive.

How Does Snowmobile Work?

After the initial evaluation, a snowmobile will be taken to the data center. AWS staff will configure it accordingly so that it can be accessed as a network storage destination. While the Snowmobile is on the user’s site, AWS staff will work with the user’s team to use a high-speed network switch that comes with the Snowmobile. This switch will initiate high-speed data transfer from the user’s data center to the Snowmobile. After the user’s data is transferred, the Snowmobile is rebooted to AWS, and the data is imported into the Amazon S3.

Snowmobile uses multi-layer security to protect your data, including dedicated security guards, GPS tracking, alarm tracking, 24/7 video surveillance, and the preferred access security vehicle while in traffic. All data is encrypted via 256-bit encryption keys designed for security and the complete chain guarding of your data, and the keys can be managed through the AWS Key Management Service (KMS).

Benefits of AWS Snowmobile

Swift transfer even on a massive scale – Even with high-speed Internet connections, it can take decades to transfer large volumes of data. The Snowmobile can move up to 100 petabytes of data in weeks plus transport time. Even with a 1Gbps connection, it can take over 20 years for the same transaction to reach the direct connection line.

Secure encryption – The data is encrypted with the keys provided by the user before the data is written to the Snowmobile. All data is encrypted with 256-bit encryption, and the encryption keys can be managed through AWS Key Management Service (KMS). The keys used by encryption servers on the Snowmobile are never written to disk. If the power goes out for any reason, the keys are safely erased.

Tough, durable, and very safe – Snowmobile is tamper-resistant, water-resistant, and temperature controlled. The data container is operated by AWS staff alone, and security access is limited to physical access via hardware controls. The Snowmobile is protected by 24/7 video, alarm, and GPS surveillance, and can be optionally guarded by a security vehicle while in traffic.

Customized for your needs – Since physical sites may have different migration requirements, AWS will work with you to ensure that all your needs are considered before Snowmobile arrives.

Massively scalable – A snowmobile can carry up to one hundred petabytes of data in one trip, the equivalent of using about 1,250 AWS Snowball devices.

Easy data recovery – Many organizations are concerned that once they have moved all their data to the cloud, it will be costly and time consuming to recover the data when needed.

Snowball and Snowmobile offer all customers a fast and inexpensive way to ensure that data can be transferred quickly both inside and outside AWS.

Akarshan Narang
Akarshan Narang
Covering the world of Cloud at CMI.


Cloud Management