What is AWS Snowball?

December 9, 2022
Written by
Michael Knowles
What is AWS Snowball?

AWS Snowball is a service from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that provides a cost-effective and secure way to transfer large amounts of data into and out of the AWS cloud. The service allows organisations to move petabytes of data quickly, securely and cost effectively between their on-premises infrastructure, remote locations, and the cloud. By leveraging Snowball, organizations can cut down on time, labor costs, and shipping expenses associated with transferring large datasets into the cloud.

Snowball comes in two versions: Snowball Edge and Snowball. The former offers faster transfers through additional computing power while the latter offers cold storage for larger datasets. Both devices are tamper resistant and come with security features such as encryption to protect customers’ data while in transit or at rest.

Snowball Edge includes an onboard storage device that is capable of storing up to 80TBs of data, after which customers can send their data directly to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). This device also has an Intel Xeon D processor which enables up to 25 Gbps of transfer speed when connected via Ethernet or 10 Gbps when connected via 10Gbs iSCSI over IP so customers won’t have to wait forever for their large datasets to be transferred into the cloud.

Snowball allows businesses that need a more cost-effective solution for transferring massive amounts of data into and out of the cloud to do so without having to invest heavily in hardware or network resources. With its long range capabilities, businesses will not have any geographic limitations either as they can send their datasets anywhere in the world at any given time without worrying about long distance costs or long wait times. Furthermore, businesses don't have to worry about local laws or regulations since transfers are handled securely by AWS only allowing authorised users access to the datasets during transport.

For business who need even colder storage solutions for archiving large volumes of inactive data sets, Snowball also offers an Archive Storage feature where customers can store up to 180 TBs worth of inactive datasets for longer periods of time at a fraction of what it would usually cost them if done on traditional online storage platforms like Amazon S3 Glacier or Azure Blob Storage.

Snowball employs an appliance to store a user's data locally before shipping it across the globe using Amazon's own networks. The appliance itself is an encrypted device that runs a hardened version of Linux and is tamper-resistant, making it extremely secure.  Not only is it resistant to physical tampering, but AWS also provides end-to-end encryption that guarantees all the data transferred through Snowball is safe and secure at all times.

Snowball also includes optional features such as ingesting content directly from on-premises storage systems, automatic network optimisation for faster transfers, seed loading capabilities, delivery tracking services, and more. All these features help ensure your data remains safe while being transferred quickly and efficiently to its destination.

The appliance itself can hold up to 50TB of data in a single box and comes in both diskless and disk-based configurations – allowing customers to pick their preferred option depending on their needs. Once you have filled your Snowball with the necessary amount of data you wish to transfer you simply request for it to be shipped off via Amazon's network – this usually takes about 5 business days for domestic transfers or around 10 business days for international ones.

Once at its destination, the recipient can then use an AWS console or API call in order to unpack and retrieve the contents stored in the appliance. After unpacking any remaining components are automatically sent back to Amazon’s headquarters allowing you peace of mind that all your confidential information will remain safe until received by its intended destination.

Overall AWS Snowball is a great solution if you’re looking for a way to securely transfer large amounts of data between two different locations quickly and cost-effectively without having to worry about compromising on security along the way. With its innovative encryption technology, customisability options such as optional features, seed loading capabilities, fast shipping times and more – it makes sure you get exactly what you need out of your experience every time!

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