AWS Snowmobile is a new offering from Amazon aimed at people and companies looking at new ways to store their data.
Essentially, Amazon utilizes a 45-foot-long shipping container to haul hard drives to your data center where the company then extracts up to 100 petabytes (a petabyte is 1 million gigabytes) of data.
From there, the data is transported to an Amazon data center where it is then uploaded to Amazon’s cloud data storage service, either S3 or Amazon Glacier.
While Amazon still offers its Snowball service, it doesn’t come close to the “exabyte scale” of which AWS can achieve in roughly 6 months of shipping.
For some perspective, it would take approximately 26 years over a 10Gbps dedicated connection to complete the same data transfer.
While using an actual truck to ship copious amounts of data might not sound practical, Amazon has enough money to do it anyway and see how it works out.
As a matter of fact, the company already has a customer in DigitalGlobe who is in the process of transporting 100 petabyes of satellite imagery to AWS by way of Amazon’s big hard drive trucks.