Probably Amazon started to ask themselves on how to accelerate cloud migrations if they can’t control the amount of data customer needs and the fact they can’t offer –yet- unlimited upload speed. And most likely following the “simple is safe” guideline, Amazon is now offering migration your data to the cloud by driving a truck to your datacenter, filling it with what you need and “driving it back” to AWS and the cloud.

AWS Snowmobile

The solution is called Snowmobile (of course), a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck. After an initial assessment, you can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile which will be sent or actually driven to the AWS datacenters. And in the case you need more than that, you just need to ask for a second truck that can transfer the rest.

Amazon’s explanation on how it works is fairly simple: “We’ll drive the truck over to your data center, we’ll take Snowmobile affixed to a trailer, we have power, and we’ll fiber-connect to your data center, you fill ‘er up, the truck will come back, we’ll put [the container] back on the truck, and we’ll move it back to AWS”.

Snowmobile uses multiple layers of security designed to protect your data including dedicated security personnel, GPS tracking, alarm monitoring, 24/7 video surveillance, and an optional escort security vehicle while in transit. All data is encrypted with 256-bit encryption keys managed through the AWS Key Management Service (KMS) and designed to ensure both security and full chain-of-custody of your data.

Regarding pricing, the guideline mentioned by Amazon is $0.005/GB per month. Since the Snowmobile is designed for large scenarios, the complete migrations will take months to complete. Taking that price into consideration, if you have 1PB of data, it will cost you $5,242 per month until the data is completely migrated, which doesn’t seem that terrible.

Snowball Effect

The “manual” approach for AWS it’s not something new, they’ve been offering Snowball product since 2009. Represented by this box-type appliance that Amazon sends you to store your data and then send it back to Amazon for their upload into AWS.

Amazon WebServices box

The Snowball concept is quite simple and very similar than the Snowmobile: Amazon will send you the box; connect the box to your environment and transfer data; send the box to Amazon and finally they will upload your data.

AWS Snowmobile step-by-step route

Snowball pricing starts at $200 for the 50TB box and $250 for the 80TB. The cost includes a 10-day loan from Amazon to complete your data upload if you need additional time they will charge you $15 per day.



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