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Get started with AWS Snowball Edge

Snowball Edge

AWS Snowball Edge is a 100TB data transfer device with on-board storage and compute capabilities. You can use Snowball Edge to move large amounts of data into and out of AWS, as a temporary storage tier for large local datasets, or to support local workloads in remote or offline locations.

Snowball Edge connects to your existing applications and infrastructure using standard storage interfaces, streamlining the data transfer process and minimizing setup and integration. Snowball Edge can cluster together to form a local storage tier and process your data on-premises, helping ensure your applications continue to run even when they are not able to access the cloud.

Snowball Edge at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2017
AWS Snowball Edge at the Electric Daisy Carnival
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Pushing Physical Limits with AWS Snowball Edge

Easy Data Movement

Many organizations are concerned that once they have moved all their data to the cloud it will be both expensive and time-consuming to retrieve the data if needed. Snowball Edge offers all customers a fast and inexpensive way to transfer large amounts of data both into and out of AWS.


Simple to Use

Jobs are created right from the AWS Management Console. Once a job is created, AWS automatically ships a Snowball Edge device to you. When you receive the device, simply attach it to your local network and then connect your applications. Once the device is ready to be returned, the E Ink shipping label will automatically update to the correct AWS facility, and the job status can be tracked via Amazon SNS generated text or email messages, or directly in the Console.


Process Data Locally

You can deploy AWS Lambda code on Snowball Edge to perform tasks such as analyzing data streams or processing data locally. Data is collected, stored, and processed using the Snowball Edge independent from any other storage or compute resource.


Stand-Alone Storage

You can use Snowball Edge as stand-alone storage. You can point existing applications to Snowball Edge devices as a file or object storage destination without changing application logic.You can also cluster Snowball Edge devices together into a single, larger, storage tier with increased durability. When a Snowball Edge is full, it can be removed from the cluster, returned to AWS, and replaced with a new Snowball Edge.




Snowball Edge devices use tamper-resistant enclosures, 256-bit encryption, and industry-standard Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) designed to ensure both security and full chain-of-custody for your data. Encryption keys are managed with the AWS Key Management Service (KMS) and they are never stored on the device.



Snowball Edge devices can transport multiple terabytes of data and multiple devices can be used in parallel to transfer petabytes of data into or out of AWS. Snowball Edge is currently available in select regions and your location will be verified once you create a job in the AWS Management Console.

You can order Snowball Edge with just a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. It arrives with your S3 buckets, Lambda code, and clustering configuration pre-installed. Once the appliance arrives, connect it to your local network and set the IP address either manually or with DHCP. Finally, you verify the integrity of the Snowball Edge device and unlock it for use. Once the appliance is ready to be returned, the E Ink shipping label automatically updates and you can track the job status via Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), generated text or email messages, or directly in the Console.

Learn more about specific use cases below:

You could use a Snowball Edge to support medical imaging or optical scanning MRI machines. It could store the image files as they are captured, giving users and administration systems immediate access, and also helping protect from WAN connection problems. Using a cluster of Snowball Edge devices, you could stage imaging data for transfers into Amazon S3 without disrupting systems on site.


As a global leader in health technology, we support thousands of hospitals with time-sensitive and highly detailed medical imaging technology. Snowball Edge is a promising new technology that could further enhance how we deliver our critical services to medical facilities, with secure and continuous connectivity at all times. Snowball Edge enables us to extend the innovative capabilities of HealthSuite, our cloud-enabled connected health ecosystem of devices, applications and digital tools supported by AWS, even when there is no network support.

-- Dale Wiggins, Business Leader, HealthSuite digital platform, Philips

You can put a Snowball Edge onsite in remote locations for data collection and analysis.

Oregon State University sends research ships out to collect oceanographic data. They’ve been collecting this data on disk drives aboard the ship, then manually loading each disk drive on to their servers back in their University lab datacenter once the ship returned. This was a struggle to manage and required hours and hours or manual labor on both ends. Snowball Edge gives them a portable, high-capacity device aboard the ship that can capture and pre-process the collected data. The onboard compute and storage of Snowball Edge helps accelerate their analysis for every coastal exploration.

Aircraft engine manufacturers install a Snowball Edge on their planes to collect data while in flight, processing that data to give immediate results on performance and potential maintenance needs. Upon landing, the Snowball Edge is removed from the aircraft, where actionable results are implemented immediately. Then the Snowball Edge device is sent back to AWS where the expanded data analysis further enhances their designs and performance models.


“The Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) is a leading marine laboratory and the campus for the Oregon State University’s research, education, and outreach in marine and coastal sciences, collecting and analyzing hundreds of TBs of real-time oceanic and coast images every year to improve environmental sustainability and provide strategic insights to coastal process and planning. Our original method for capturing oceanic image data involved many small hard drives, and we had to hand-carry each one to our computing center and loaded them one at a time. It would take weeks to months before we could analyze the images we collected, so it really slowed down our research. It also cost us tens of thousands of dollars per year.

With AWS Snowball Edge, we can now collect 100 TB of data with no intermediate steps, and we can also analyze the images immediately using the onboard compute capabilities. This allows us to do deeper analysis, and we can upload all the raw data to the AWS Cloud by simply shipping the AWS Snowball Edge device back. AWS Snowball Edge allows us to access AWS storage and compute capabilities in our coastal explorations where no internet is available and allows us to move petabytes to the AWS Cloud quickly and easily where we can continue to use all the power of the AWS platform.”

-- Bob Cowen, Director of Hatfield Marine Research Center, Oregon State University


Snowball Edge can ingest data from IoT sensors, perform analysis on the raw data to turn results around quickly and add them to a big data analysis pool in the cloud.


Wind farms tend to be built in remote locations that may not have connectivity at all, yet the highly specialized wind generation equipment requires real-time data analysis to tune itself for maximum efficiency under ever-changing conditions. Snowball Edge devices are able to locally capture the high volumes of streaming data and use Lambda code for on-site analysis and actions. Eventually the Snowball Edge is returned to an AWS datacenter where the data is added to a central repository from all devices to derive deeper insights.  

You can put a Snowball Edge on-site in factory locations for data collection and analysis that can tune the manufacturing processes to improve safety, efficiency and productivity.


A manufacturer owns automated machinery for things like milling, stock feeding, or packaging, each of which are equipped with sensors. The manufacturer orders a Snowball Edge and simply plugs it into his networked machines and turns it on. Once running, the Snowball Edge can use sensors on the machines to run through Lambda-based factory automation to do analysis and take actions, and/or respond to sensor inputs that trigger actions like new orders, safety alarms, logging alerts or fire suppression systems. Now the shop floor can do things like request additional raw materials, tune factory equipment by adjusting machine RPMs or other processes, and produce maintenance reports for factory business intelligence systems. The data collected on the Snowball Edge is returned either over the Internet or by disconnecting and sending back to AWS for deeper analysis and process improvement evaluation, reducing the overall cost and improving overall efficiency.

It's easy to get started with Snowball Edge. Follow our Getting Started developer guide and learn how to deploy your first Snowball Edge in a few clicks.

Get Started with AWS Snowball Edge