AWS Public Sector Blog

From Deserts to the Battlefield: AWS SnowBall Edge Brings Technology to the Tactical Edge

Adoption of cloud computing is critical to maintaining our military’s technological advantage. Our nation’s warfighters deserve the most innovative and secure solutions. The AWS Snowball Edge is designed for rugged deployments in unfriendly physical environments. For the military, that may mean using the cloud in the middle of the desert, on board ships, and on the front line of the battlefield.

The strategic advantage of making accurate decisions is in the ability to gather, retain, and process data into qualitative information. This allows the military to clear the fog of war faster than adversaries. With the introduction of Amazon EC2 instances running onboard the AWS Snowball Edge, applications developed on-premises or in the cloud can now be deployed on the same device that can perform data analytics and machine learning inferences. Common use cases include data migration, data transport, image collation, IoT sensor stream capture, and machine learning.

The Snowball Edge brings the ability to run cloud services with specific Amazon EC2 instance types, as well as AWS Lambda functions at the tactical edge, without requiring hardware and IT support. These capabilities and data flows position mission owners to make timely and impactful decisions.

Whether on ship or shore, you need to scale storage and compute resources quickly and be prepared for whatever the next mission brings.

Snowball Edge meets the MIL-S-901D specification for high-impact mechanical shock applied to equipment mounted on ships. Watch the barge test illustrating an explosive charge detonated in a pond at various distances and depths to impart shock.

Learn more about the production features below:

  • Ruggedized cases designed to be durable, portable and rack-mountable
  • Built to handle high G impacts up to 200G and can be air-dropped
  • Able to operate on unconditioned power in unconditioned environments up to 104 degrees
  • Optional 7 micron filter for operating in high dust environments
  • Tested Grade B for MIL-S-901D
  • Reduces heat absorption with a UV radiation reflecting case
  • Can handle hurricane force rain when in Shipment mode
  • Tamper-resistant seals and built in Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) with dedicated processors designed to detect any unauthorized modifications to the hardware, firmware, or software
  • Secure by default, all application software, data, communications are encrypted with managed keys that are removed on device shutdown process
  • Designed to be operated by non-technical personnel
  • Strong cryptography with data encryption at rest
  • Can be moved by a single person (50 pounds in weight)
  • Secure erasure after the data transfer job has been processed, following NIST guidelines for media sanitation
AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the AWS Public Sector blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).