What is an AWS Snowmobile?Comprehensive guide

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What is an AWS Snowmobile?

AWS Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move large amounts of data to Amazon web services.. Each snowmobile can transfer up to 100 PB of data. This is a sturdy 45-foot long shipping container towed by a semi-trailer truck.

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You can use Amazon Snowmobile to move large amounts of data to the cloud. This includes image repository, video library, or data center migration. AWS Snowmobile is cost-effective, fast and secure.

How does AWS Snowmobile work?

There is an initial assessment performed before the snowmobile is shipped to the data center. When Snowmobile reaches the data center, AWS personnel configure Snowmobile to be available as a target for network storage. When Snowmobile is on your site, AWS personnel will work with your team to start connecting removable high-speed network switches from Snowmobile to your local network. This will start the process of high speed data transfer. This can be done from various sources in the data center.

When the data is transferred, Snowmobile is returned to AWS.So the data will be imported into Amazon S3..

Snowmobile provides defense-in-depth to protect your data. This includes security guards, alarm monitoring, GPS tracking, 24/7 video surveillance, and escort guard vehicles as needed. A 256-bit encryption key is used to encrypt all data. These keys can be managed through the AWS Key Management Service (KMS).

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AWS Snowmobile site requirements

AWS Snowmobile needs physical access to the data center to facilitate network connectivity. Snowmobile includes a removable connector rack with up to 1.24 miles of network cable. Network cables can connect directly to the network backbone of your data center.

Snowmobiles can be parked in a covered area within the data center. You can also park in an uncovered area next to the data center, close enough to the network cable. The parking lot requires space for a standard 45-foot container about 1.83 meters high. The snowmobile can operate at temperatures up to 85F before using the auxiliary chiller unit. AWS usually provides chiller units as needed.

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What is an AWS Snowmobile Job?

Snowmobile jobs are an end-to-end data migration process using Snowmobile. It consists of 5 steps.

  • Field survey: In this step, AWS personnel work with your company to understand the purpose of your migration, your data center environment, and the network configuration you need to help you create your migration plan.
  • Site preparation: In this step, customers identify and make available local services such as parking spaces and power supplies.
  • Dispatch and setup: This step involves an AWS representative dispatching a Snowmobile to your site. Next, Snowmobile is configured for secure access as a network storage target.
  • data migration: In this step, the data is copied from various sources in the data center to Snowmobile.
  • Returns and uploads: In this final step, Snowmobile will return to the specified AWS Region, where the data will be uploaded to the selected AWS storage device.

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Benefits of AWS snowmobiles

Let’s talk about some of the benefits of AWS Snowmobile.

  • High-speed transfer even on a large scale: Even if you have a high-speed internet connection, it can take decades to transfer large amounts of data. With AWS Snowmobile, you can move 100 PB of data in just a few weeks, and even take longer to transfer. If you have a direct connection line with a 1 Gbps connection, it will take over 20 years to transfer this amount of data.
  • Strong encryption: You can use the key you provided to encrypt the data before writing to the Snowmobile. All data is encrypted with 256-bit encryption. You can use AWS KMS to manage all your encryption keys. The encryption key used by Snowmobile’s encryption server is not written to disk. In the event of a power outage, the key will be safely erased.
  • Sturdy, durable and safer: Snowmobiles are temperature controlled, water resistant and resistant to tampering. The container in which the data is stored is exclusively managed by AWS personnel. Security Access Only physically accessible by hardware tools. Snowmobiles are protected by 24/7 video surveillance, alarm surveillance, and GPS tracking. An optional security layer is also available. A snowmobile will accompany the security vehicle on the move.
  • Customized to your needs: Different physical sites have different migration needs. AWS works with the company to ensure that all specific needs are taken into account before Snowmobile reaches the physical site.
  • Very scalable: You can transfer up to 100 PB of data on a single trip with one snowmobile. To do the same with AWS Snowball devices, you’ll need at least 1200 such devices.
  • Easy data acquisition: Many companies are concerned that moving all their data to the cloud can take a lot of time and money to get the data when they need it. Snowmobile solves this problem by allowing data to be transferred quickly inside and outside AWS, ensuring fast and inexpensive transfer of data.

AWS snowmobile specifications

Let’s take a look at the main technical and physical specifications of snowmobiles.

  • Snowmobiles are 45-foot containers and require 1.83 meters of clearance. The curb weighs about 68,000 pounds.
  • Snowmobile comes with a number of Snowball Edge devices with 100PB HDD storage.
  • Snowmobile does not provide available RAM, vCPU, or SSD storage.
  • Snowmobile comes with a 6×40 Gigabit network interface and a mobile connector rack that you can use to connect directly to the network backbone.
  • If you need to park your snowmobile in an open area, we can also provide an auxiliary cooling unit.

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Snowmobile vs. snowball

There are some differences between AWS Snowmobile and AWS Snowball. Let’s take a look at some of them:

parameter AWS snowmobile AWS snowball
Use Case Helps migrate large amounts of data (10 PB or more) stored in one location Helps migrate datasets less than 10PB or datasets distributed across multiple locations
Storage You can save up to 100PB of data Can store up to 80TB of data
safety All data is encrypted using a 256-bit encryption key before writing new data. The key is not permanently stored and is automatically deleted when Snowmobile shuts down. It is operated exclusively by AWS personnel.Access to the data container is tightly controlled and the hardware is protected by secure access control 24/7 Video and alarm monitoring and GPS tracking A special unlock and manifest code is created. This will bind Snowball to your account and automatically encrypt the SnowballEdge device data copied to SnowballEdge and store it in a pre-specified bucket.

AWS snowmobile pricing

AWS Snowmobile follows AWS’s usage-based pricing model. The price of a snowmobile depends on the amount of data stored each month.

AWS Snowmobile is only available in some AWS Regions, if available.

AWS Snowmobile costs $ 0.005 / GB per month.

AWS pricing depends on a variety of factors. Cloud storage, data transfer, and request prices also apply when data is moved to AWS Cloud.


AWS Snowmobile is essential for companies with large amounts of data. Helps facilitate the process of data migration. AWS Snowmobile provides a convenient, secure, and inexpensive data transfer method. What is an AWS Snowmobile?Comprehensive guide

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