AWS Import/Export Snowball uses secure appliances and the Snowball client to help accelerate petabyte-scale data transfers into and out of AWS. You start by using the AWS Management Console to create a job, request one or multiple Snowball appliances (depending on how much data you need to transfer), and download and install the Snowball client. Once the appliance arrives, connect it to your local network, set the IP address either manually or with DHCP, and use the client to identify the directories you want to copy. The client will automatically encrypt and copy the data to the appliance and notify you when the transfer job is complete.

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Snowball includes a high-speed, 10 Gbps network connection to minimize data transfer times. The Snowball appliance is designed to transfer up to 50 terabytes of data from your data source to the appliance in less than one day, plus shipping time.

All data transferred to Snowball is automatically encrypted with 256-bit encryption keys that are managed by the AWS Key Management Service (KMS). The encryption keys are never sent to, or stored on the appliance, to help ensure your data stays secure during transit.

Snowball includes a ruggedized case that was designed to be both durable and portable. The Snowball appliance weighs less than 50 pounds and can be lifted and moved by a single person.

The Snowball appliance is equipped with tamper-resistant seals and includes a built-in Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that uses a dedicated processor designed to detect any unauthorized modifications to the hardware, firmware, or software. AWS inspects every appliance for any signs of tampering and to verify that no changes were detected by the TPM.

Snowball uses an innovative, E Ink shipping label designed to ensure the appliance is automatically sent to the correct AWS facility and also aids in tracking. Once you have completed your data transfer job, it can be tracked via Amazon SNS, text messages, and the Console.

Once the data transfer job has been processed and verified, AWS performs a software erasure of the Snowball appliance that follows the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines for media sanitization.