Data Centers

Amazon unveils new data center hardware to get you securely into the cloud

At the 2016 re:Invent conference, AWS CEO Andy Jassy unveiled two new products, the Snowball Edge and Snowmobile, to make it even easier to get your data into the cloud.

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Amazon's Snowmobile is a 45-foot long container that is transported via semi truck.

Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic

Amazon will do whatever it takes to get your data to the cloud, including driving a semi truck to your data center and transporting it back to Amazon Web Services (AWS) HQ to migrate it for you.

At the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference on Wednesday, AWS CEO Andy Jassy unveiled the aforementioned semi truck, Snowmobile, and an updated version of its secure Snowball appliance called the Snowball Edge. While positioned for different scales of data, both products share the same goal of getting more of your data to the cloud, even faster.

For those with a lot of data to migrate, AWS has the Snowmobile. And yes, it is literally transported on a semi truck. The 45-foot long rugged container is capable of transporting up to an exabyte of data. AWS will drive the truck to your data center, take in the date, and drive it back to AWS for migration.

SEE: Amazon goes all-in on AI and big data at AWS re:Invent 2016

To transport an exabyte of data using a 10Gbps dedicated connection, it would take you around 26 years to complete. With a few Snowmobiles, Jassy said, it would only take six months. Each Snowmobile container is 100 PB.

On the smaller side of things, the Snowball Edge is a standalone appliance that holds up to 100 TB of data. Amazon originally introduced the Snowball back in 2015, but the new version has many updates. According to a press release from Amazon, the Snowball Edge "has four times the network speed, built in Wi-Fi and cellular wireless communication, and a Network File System (NFS) interface with an Amazon S3-compatible endpoint that allows the Snowball Edge to connect to the cloud and pass data back and forth with Amazon S3."

The Snowball Edge also has AWS Greengrass, a new software for embedding Amazon Lambda compute on connected devices, included standard. The software integration will make it easier for firms to collect IoT and sensor data on the appliance and move them to the cloud.

The updating of the Snowball product and the announcement of the Snowmobile mark an interesting shift for Amazon toward data center hardware. It also shows that Amazon is recognizing the need enterprises have for in-between and hybrid solutions before they are ready to go fully to the cloud.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Amazon launched a new version of its Snowball product called Snowball Edge, and a massive data transport service called Snowmobile.
  2. Both new products exist to help move customer data to the cloud.
  3. These hardware products show that Amazon is willing to meet customers where they are, even if they aren't ready to go fully to the cloud.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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