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What is AWS – Snowball?

Moiz Khan Jun 29, 2020

AWS Snowball, which is a part of the AWS Snow family, is a two-channel edge server, data transfer, and boundary storage tool. Optimized devices provide Amazon S3 compatible block storage and 40 vCPUs. They also include Amazon S3 compatible object storage, and are suitable for local storage and transfer of large-scale data. Optimized systems have 52 vCPUs, block and objects storage, and an optional GPU for the application of cases such as advanced machine learning or full movement video analysis. Such systems may be used to gather data, to train and process machines and to store data in intermittingly connected environments (such as manufacturing, industry and transport), or in remote places (such as military and sea operations), until shipping them back to AWS. Such tools can also be rack-mounted to build larger temporary structures and grouped together.

To build and test in AWS Cloud, applications can be used to store, pre-process and ship data to AWS on devices in remote locations, with Snowball supporting different Amazon EC2 instance types and AWS Lambda capabilities. Common uses include data migration, data transportation, picture collection, IoT stream capture sensors, and machine learning.

Some Benefits of Using AWS Snowball

Easy Data movement

Snowball moves terabytes of data almost within a week. You can use this to move databases, backups, files, medical records, analytical data sets, IoT data sensors and media content, especially when network conditions prevent realistic timeframes for large amounts in and out of AWS.

Process & analyze data locally

To perform local processing or analyzes on the Snowball Edge appliance, run EC2 AMIs and use AWS Lambda Code. Without network access you can run applications directly on the system as a consistent AWS environment. This ability lets you build and check your software tools in the cloud but runs them in areas with minimal or non-existent network connections before returning data to AWS.


Multiple data terabytes and many tools may be used parallel or clustered together for the transmission of data petabytes into or from AWS through snowball. Snowball is available in some areas and the location is reviewed once a job is created in the AWS Management Console.


Snowball Edge apps use sophisticated components, 256-bit encryption and Trusted Platform (TPM) industry-standard modules designed to guarantee the data protection and custody. Encryption key is handled by the Key Management Service of AWS (KMS) and never saved on the computer.

How AWS Snowball works

Pick your favorite computer from the AWS Snow Family app, Snowball Edge Optimized or Snowball Edge Optimized Storage. Easy notification service (Amazon SNS) for monitoring and configuration options for monitoring like Amazon AMIs EC2 and GPU, generates a job with the Amazon S3 bin. In approximately 4-6 days, AWS will prepare and ship to you the computer. After arrival, power up the computer to activate AWS OpsHub. Link your LAN. Attach your LAN. Use AWS OpsHub for device management, data transfer, or EC2 instances launching. After completion, shut down and return the AWS unit. The dispatch mark appears on the E-Tin panel automatically. Upon arrival in the region of AWS any information stored in the on-board seal is transferred to your S3 seal and checked at approximately the same time you loaded the unit. All data is then removed safely from the computer and any customer information is sanitized.

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