[AWS] Snowball

The Snow family services are used to transfer a large amount of data from on-premises to AWS using a physical device.

  • Snowcone: smallest – 8 terabytes
  • Snowball: Petabyte-scale, cheaper than internet transfer
  • Snowmobile: Exabyte-scale, Data securely transferred and loaded to S3


Snowball is a cost-effect and fast data transport service into or out of AWS using secure and rugged devices.

  • Snowball supports petabyte-scale data transfer.
  • Snowball comes in 2 sizes (50TB and 80 TB) and has multi-layer security features (SW + HW).
  • It is useful when you do not want to saturate the office internet connection.
  • You cannot transfer data from Snowball to S3 Glacier directly. Move data to S3 and then use lifecycle to Glacier.

Snowball Edge

Snowball Edge is a data transfer device (80 TB) with compute capabilities.

  • Snowball devices are transitioned out of service, and Snowball Edge replaces Snowball as primary devices.
  • You can transfer data and use it as temporary storage.

Computing Capabilities and Block Storage

  • It can support EC2 instances (SBE1, SBE-C, and SBE-G) and attach block storage volumes (SSD volumes – sbp1, or HDD volumes – sbg1). A block storage volume has a maximum size of 10 TB, and you can attach up to 10 volumes to an instance on Snowball Edge. The volumes will be deleted when the device is returned.
  • The lambda functions can be hosted.
  • Snowball Edge devices can be clustered together.

Types of Snowball Edge devices

Snowball Edge Storage devices

  • Ideal for transferring terabytes to petabytes of data to AWS when high-bandwidth internet connections are not available.
  • Compute Power: 40 vCPUs, 1 TB of SATA SSD storage, up to 40 Gb Network

Snowball Edge Compute devices

  • More vCPUs and faster networking
  • Can be used to run edge computing workloads, such as performing local analysis of data on a Snowball Edge cluster and writing it to the S3-compatible endpoint.
  • Compute Power: 52 vCPUs, 7.68 TB of SATA SSD storage, up to 100 Gb Network


  • Snowball Edge encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption.
  • You manage your encryption keys by using the AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS).
  • Keys are never stored on the device, and all memory is erased when it is disconnected and returned to AWS.


  • Snowball Edge cannot be used to move data from one region to another. It is intended to move data within a designated AWS Region.
  • You cannot attach existing EBS volumes to the devices.

When to use Snowball instead of the public internet

Snowball vs. Direct Connect (DX)

  • If you need to transfer large quantities of data to AWS services on an ongoing basis, use DX.
  • If you need to transfer data in large batches or as a one-time transfer, potentially from distributed locations, use Snowball.


  • Snowball Edge is an exabyte-scale data transfer service.
  • It is a giant shipping container pulled by a truck.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s