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What is AWS Snowmobile?

Here is a list of the topics that we will be discussing in this blog:

What is AWS Snowmobile?

AWS Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service that is used to move large volumes of data to Amazon Web Services. Each Snowmobile allows transfer for up to 100PB of data. It is a 45-foot-long ruggedized shipping container that is pulled by a semi-trailer truck.

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We can use Amazon Snowmobile to move large volumes of data to the cloud. This can include image repositories, video libraries, or data center migration. AWS Snowmobile is cost-effective, fast, and secure.

How Does AWS Snowmobile Work?

There is an initial assessment done before a Snowmobile is transported to data centers. Once the Snowmobile has reached the data center, AWS personnel configure it so it can be used as a target for network storage. When the Snowmobile is on the site, the AWS personnel start working with the team to connect a removable high-speed network switch from the Snowmobile to the local network. This initiates the process of high-speed data transfer. This can be done from various sources within the data center.

Once the data is transferred, the Snowmobile is taken back to AWS; there, the data is imported to Amazon S3.

Snowmobile brings in multi-layered security to protect data. This includes security personnel, alarm monitoring, GPS tracking, 24/7 video surveillance, and even an escort security vehicle, if needed. 256-bit encryption keys are used to encrypt all data. These keys can be managed through the AWS Key Management Service (KMS).

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Site Requirements for AWS Snowmobile

AWS Snowmobile needs physical access to the data center for ease of network connectivity. The Snowmobile contains a removable connector rack that has up to 1.24 miles of networking cable. The networking cable can directly connect to the network backbone of the data center.

The Snowmobile can be parked inside the data center, in a covered area. It can also be parked in an uncovered area, next to the data center that is close enough for the networking cable. The parking area will need clearance for a standard 45-foot container that is about 1.83 meters tall. The Snowmobile can work at a temperature of up to 85F before an auxiliary chiller unit has to be utilized. AWS usually provides the chiller unit, if needed.

What is an AWS Snowmobile Job?

A Snowmobile Job is the process of end-to-end data migration using a Snowmobile. It consists of five steps:

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Benefits of AWS Snowmobile

Let us now discuss some of the benefits of AWS Snowmobile:

AWS Snowmobile Specifications

Let us take a look at the major technical and physical specifications of a Snowmobile:

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Snowmobile Vs. Snowball

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

Parameters AWS Snowmobile AWS Snowball
Use Cases Helps migrate large volumes of data—10 PB or more—stored in a single location Helps migrate datasets less than 10 PB or datasets that are distributed in multiple locations
Storage Can store up to 100 PB of data Can store up to 80 TB of data
Security All data is encrypted using a 256-bit encryption key before writing new dataKeys are not permanently stored and are automatically deleted when the Snowmobile shuts downExclusively operated by AWS personnel—access to data containers is strictly controlled and hardware is protected by secure access control24/7 video and alarm monitoring and GPS tracking A special unlock and manifest code is created. This binds the Snowball to your account and the Snowball Edge deviceData copied to Snowball Edge is automatically encrypted and stored in pre-specified buckets

AWS Snowmobile Pricing

AWS Snowmobile follows the use-based pricing model of AWS. Snowmobiles are priced according to the volume of data stored every month.

AWS Snowmobile can be used only in select AWS regions, if made available.

AWS Snowmobile costs $0.005/GB per month.

The pricing for AWS depends on various factors. Cloud storage, data transfer, and request prices also apply when the data is moved to AWS Cloud.


AWS Snowmobile is a necessity for companies that deal with large volumes of data. It helps make the process of data migration easier. AWS Snowmobile provides a convenient, secure, and inexpensive way of data transfer.

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