AWS Storage Blog

Optimizing cost with long-term pricing options for AWS Snowball

At the edge, in austere, non-data center environments, and in locations where there’s lack of consistent network connectivity, optimizing costs and operations is essential to successful outcomes. It can be difficult to manage costs and achieve goals in these austere environments, with limited resources and capabilities. The Snow Family, comprised of AWS Snowcone and AWS Snowball, enable you to access the storage and compute power of the AWS Cloud locally and cost effectively in places where connecting to the internet might not be an option.

For customers who use AWS Snowball for longer than one year, long-term pricing options offers up to a 62 percent discount compared to on-demand pricing. As of April 2021, AWS added the 1-year and 3-year long-term pricing options for AWS Snowball Edge service. And with both short-term and long-term pricing options available, you can choose the option that best suits your business needs. To deliver consistency globally, AWS has these pricing options available across all Snowball Edge devices in all Regions where the AWS Snowball Edge service is available. The pricing details are available on the Snowball Edge pricing page.

In this blog, we walk you through the process of ordering a Snowball Edge with long-term pricing options. This should help you be equipped to make the most cost-effective decision for your use case, with the potential for impactful savings.

Long-term pricing options

AWS enables two long-term pricing options for AWS Snowball Edge: 1-year upfront or 3-year upfront. With these long-term options, you pay upfront to use the Snowball device(s) at a discounted rate (up to 62 percent), and you avoid paying per-day fees until the prepaid long-term period ends. The example below from the AWS Snowball Edge pricing page shows the on-demand per-day pricing, 1-year upfront pricing, and 3-year upfront pricing for Snowball Edge Compute Optimized service in the various US Regions. In this example, the 3-year pricing is at a 56 percent discount compared to the on-demand per-day pricing.

Pricing Example for Snowball

Please note that the On-Demand Job Fee included on the Snowball Edge pricing page does not apply for the 1-year and 3-year options. Additionally, the 1-year and 3-year pricing include the shipping costs (both to ship the Snowball Edge to you and to return ship to AWS at the end of your term). Pricing information for all Snowball Edge devices across all AWS Regions is available on the AWS Snowball pricing page.

Ordering Snowball Edge with long-term pricing

You can order Snowball Edge with long-term pricing straight from the AWS Management Console or via API without engaging your AWS sales team. You can also view, track, and manage your device with long-term pricing in the console.

To get started, navigate to the Snow Family console and order a Snow device. For the Choose a Snow job type, select the appropriate job type for your use case from the various options as shown below. The two job type options that support long-term pricing are Import into Amazon S3, and Local compute and storage only.

Choose job type

For Choose your Snow device, select the Snowball Edge device that best suits your edge compute needs from the options Snowball Edge Storage Optimized, Snowball Edge Compute Optimized, or Snowball Edge Compute Optimized with GPU. Please note that Snowcone and Snowcone SSD do not currently support long-term pricing.

Choose your Snowball

For Choose your pricing option, make sure to select from one of the two long-term pricing options, 1 year commit upfront pricing or 3 year commit upfront pricing. With these upfront pricing options, your prepaid period begins when the Snow device is delivered to you and ends at either 1 year or 3 year based on your choice.

Choose your pricing option

You may also choose to automatically renew your pricing option so that a new prepaid period begins when your previous one ends, thus avoiding the need to manually create a new order. The automatic renewal will be for the same time period as what you choose when placing the initial order. You control this renewal by setting the Auto-renew to either On or Off, as in the following screenshot. When Auto-renew is set to off, at the end of the prepaid period, the pricing for that Snow device will automatically revert to on-demand per-day pricing as described on the Snowball Edge pricing page. By default, the auto-renew is set to off which means that it will not renew automatically.

Choose auto-renew option

Please note that once your Snow order is processed, you are unable to change from an on-demand pricing model to a long-term pricing option for the same device. 

Managing Snow devices with long-term pricing

Snow devices that are created with a long-term pricing option will show up in a new tab in the Snow Family console that lists all your jobs with long-term pricing. In that tab, you can view details about your long-term pricing jobs, such as when the prepaid period starts and ends.

AWS allows you to swap the Snow device during the long-term contract period to accommodate operational requirements (such as uploading a new AMI, loading data from S3 storage, or replacing a failed device). You can initiate a device swap by creating a replacement Snow order and returning the original Snow device. AWS will manage the device replacement logistics, and there will be a device cycling fee assessed for this swap.

When you are using your Snow device for a long time, it is important that you have the latest Snow service updates on your local Snow devices. To have continuous access to all the latest features, updates, and security patches for your Snow device, please make sure that your device certificate is kept up-to-date every year. To do this, please contact AWS Support before the end of every year.


In this blog post, we walked you through the process of ordering your AWS Snowball Edge service with these long-term pricing options. For more information about long-term pricing, see the Snowball Edge pricing page. For more information on Snowball Edge, see the Snowball Edge FAQ page.

Long-term pricing options (1-year or 3-year) provide the most value for you (with up to 62 percent discount compared to on-demand pricing) for use cases that may need AWS Snowball Edge service for long periods of time.

Thanks for reading this blog! If you have any comments, feel free to submit them in the comments section.

Ranjith Purush

Ranjith Purush

Ranjith Purush leads WW GTM for AWS's Hybrid Edge portfolio, which enables customers to leverage AWS cloud services to solve for edge use cases. He has over 20 years of experience in building and delivering edge compute solutions.

Rakendu Devdhar

Rakendu Devdhar

Rakendu Devdhar, is a Sr. Product Manager with AWS Snow Family. Rakendu has 20+ years experience building products in the networking, security, and telecom spaces. Rakendu is passionate about building impactful products to drive business outcomes for AWS customers and partners.