Amazon Snowball launched to help with cloud data transfer

Amazon has revealed a pretty substantial piece of hardware for transferring large amounts of data to the cloud.

Amazon Snowball weighs a hefty 50 pounds and can be used to store up to 50 TB of data before being shipped to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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AWS hasn’t really entered the hardware market before, but Snowball does fit the company ethos of helping customers gain access to cloud computing. Some businesses find data migration to the cloud challenging, particularly when dealing with magnitudes in the order of terabytes or petabytes. Slow Internet speeds or inadequate network infrastructure can make wireless transfers impractical.

Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for Amazon Web Services, believes that as the latest addition to the company’s Import/Export service, Snowball can provide a genuine boost for business customers.

“Built around appliances that we own and maintain, the new model is faster, cleaner, simpler, more efficient, and more secure,” he said “You don’t have to buy storage devices or upgrade your network. Snowball is designed for customers that need to move lots of data (generally 10 terabytes or more) to AWS on a one-time or recurring basis. You simply request one or more from the AWS Management Console and wait a few days for the appliance to be delivered to your site. If you want to import a lot of data, you can order one or more Snowball appliances and run them in parallel.”

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Companies are also likely to be reassured by Snowball’s durability – as well as being weather resistant, it can also withstand a “6G jolt.” Amazon Snowball is charged at $200 per job, plus shipping fees based on your location and shipping method.