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AWS Snowball Adds Support for Data Exportation

The Amazon Snowball storage appliance was originally unveiled for public consumption in October 2015. Nearly a year old at this point, one of the biggest drawbacks of the device was its inability to export data to another server or data center. If you've shared in this problem, like many others have, this might just be the news you've been waiting for.

Jeff Barr, chief evangelist with Amazon Web Services, detailed the new functionality a recent post by saying: "If you have collected, generated, or stored large terabytes or petabytes of data in AWS and need to get to it more quickly than you could via a network connection, you can now use AWS Import/Export Snowball instead. You simply log in to the AWS Management Console, create an export request, and specify the data to be exported."

Yes, the process really is that simple. However, it's important to note that the new functionality is not free. Apart from the cost of $0.03 per exported gigabyte, users will also be required to pay the standard $200 service fee. This fee applies whether the user is importing or exporting data, though inbound data is received at no cost. In addition, users of Snowball will also pay a fee of $15 per day to maintain the hardware at their facility.

Barr continued by going further into the exportation process. He stated: "A single request can span one or more Amazon Simple Storage Service buckets. The service will determine how many appliances are needed and create the export jobs accordingly. The appliances will be prepared, data will be copied to them, and they will be shipped to the address specified in the request. You can track each of these steps using the Console."

This isn't the first upgrade Amazon has performed on their Snowball storage appliance. In fact, they've recently increased the available storage space of each unit from the original standard of 50 terabytes to a maximum of 80 TB. Furthermore, the implementation of Amazon S3 results in transfer speeds that can reach as much as 500% faster than previous versions. Multiple Snowball devices can even be daisy-chained together in order to expand the amount of available storage space even further.

About Amazon Snowball

Since it is a rather new storage appliance, some of you might not be familiar with Amazon Snowball. For starters, the appliance itself weighs 50 pounds and is able to resist a jolt of 6 Gs. Complete with a 100-volt power supply; it's safe to say that the Snowball was definitely built for resiliency and ruggedness.

In the end, the Amazon Snowball certainly isn't cheap. Once you factor in all of the associated costs, particularly the recurring daily fees and data transfer charges, it's easy to see how the appliance could account for the majority of a small business' IT budget. However, given the sheer power, toughness and flexible of Amazon Snowball, its money well spent.

To find out more information about Amazon Snowball or Amazon Web Services, please visit their official website at


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