If You Want To Transfer Petabytes to the Cloud, Amazon Will Send You This Beast


When DigitalGlobe wanted to transfer their archive to the cloud they had one big challenge ahead.

The company has been collecting images of Earth since 2001. In that time they have collected more than 7 billion square kilometers of imagery, creating an archive that now consumes 100 petabytes (a single petabyte = 1000 TB) of storage and increases by 10 PB per year.


To upload that much data to the cloud through traditional means would take way too long and cost way too much. Enter AWS Snowmobile, a 45-foot long truck with up to 100 PB of storage capacity.


Amazon recommends Snowmobile for the cloud migration of datasets of 10PB or more in a single location. The ruggedized shipping container is tamper-resistant, water-resistant, temperature controlled, and GPS-tracked.

While each Snowmobile has a total capacity of up to 100 petabytes, up to 10 Snowmobiles can be used in parallel to transfer an exabyte of data (1 exabyte = 1000 petabytes).

Snowmobile is designed to transfer data at a rate up to 1 Tb/s, which means you could fill a 100PB Snowmobile in less than 10 days. The Snowmobile comes with a removable connector rack that needs to be mounted on one of your data center racks where it can be connected directly to your high-speed network backbone. The connector racks provides multiple 40Gb/s interfaces that can transfer up to 1 Tb/s in aggregate. [source]

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. [source]

Snowmobile jobs cost $0.005/GB/month based on the amount of provisioned Snowmobile storage capacity and the end to end duration of the job, which starts when a Snowmobile departs an AWS data center for delivery to the time when data ingestion into AWS is complete. For more information visit AWS Snowmobile.

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