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Q. What is Snowball Edge?

Snowball Edge is a 100TB data transfer device with on-board storage and compute power for select AWS capabilities. In addition to transferring data to AWS, Snowball Edge can undertake local processing and edge-computing workloads. Features include an S3-compatible end-point on the device, a file interface with NFS support, a cluster mode where multiple Snowball Edge devices can act as a single, scalable, storage pool with increased durability, and the ability to run Lambda functions as data is copied to the device.

Q. How does Snowball Edge work?

You start by requesting one or more Snowball Edge devices in the AWS Management Console based on how much data you need to transfer or process. The buckets and Lambda functions you select are automatically configured, encrypted and preinstalled on your devices before they are shipped to you. Once a device arrives, connect it to your local network and set the IP address either manually or automatically with DHCP. Then use the Snowball Edge client software, job manifest, and unlock code to verify the integrity of the Snowball Edge device and unlock it for use. The manifest and unlock code are uniquely generated and crypto-logically bound to a designated Snowball Edge to help ensure that both cannot be used with any other devices. Data copied to Snowball Edge is automatically encrypted and stored in the buckets you specify.

All logistics and shipping is done by Amazon so when copying is complete and the device is ready to be returned, the E Ink shipping label will automatically update the return address to help ensure that the Snowball Edge device is delivered to the correct AWS facility. Once the device ships, you can receive tracking status via messages sent by Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), generated texts and emails, or directly from the console.

All of the management for your Snowball Edge resources can be performed in the AWS management console and these operations require no on-site system engineers.

Q. Who should use Snowball Edge?

Snowball Edge is the optimal data transfer choice if you need to securely and quickly transfer terabytes to petabytes of data to AWS. You can use Snowball Edge if you have a large backlog of data to transfer or if you frequently collect data that needs to be transferred to AWS and your storage is in an area where high-bandwidth Internet connections are not available or cost-prohibitive. You can also use Snowball Edge to run edge computing workloads such as performing local analysis of your data using Lambda functions, backed by a Snowball Edge cluster with increased durability and an S3-compatible endpoint. You can streamline it into existing workflows leveraging built-in capabilities such as the NFS file interface and migrate files to the device while maintaining file metadata. Snowball Edge can operate in remote locations or harsh operating environments, such as factory floors, windmills, ships and hospitals. Snowball Edge is pre-configured and does not have to be connected to the internet, so processing and data collection can take place within isolated operating environments. Snowball Edge allows you to run the same software at the edge and access select AWS capabilities as you do when you have full connectivity to AWS.

Q. How much data can I transfer using Snowball Edge?

You can transfer virtually any amount of data with Snowball Edge, from a few terabytes to many petabytes. You can transfer up to 100TB with a single Snowball Edge and transfer larger data sets with multiple devices, either in parallel, or sequentially. For example, you can transfer 1PB of data with 10 Snowball Edge devices.

Q. How long does it take to transfer my data?

Data transfer speed is affected by a number of factors including local network speed, file size, and the speed at which data can be read from your local servers. The end-to-end time to transfer 100 TB of data into AWS with Snowball Edge is approximately a week, including the usual shipping and handling time in AWS data centers.

Q. What are the specifications of the Snowball Edge?

Snowball Edge provides 100TB of storage in a ruggedized, rack mountable, shippable form factor. Additionally, it provides local compute capability that is approximately the equivalent of an EC2 m4.4xlarge instance that provides support for a number of additional functions. Check the Snowball Edge documentation page for a complete list of hardware specs, including network connections, thermal and power requirements, decibel output, and dimensions.

Q. What network interfaces does Snowball Edge support?

Snowball Edge includes a 10GBase-T network connection, 10/25Gb SFP28 and 40Gb QSFP+ copper, and optical networking for fast data transfer rates.  

Q. What is Snowball Edge default shipping option? Can I choose expedited shipping?

As a default, Snowball Edge uses two-day shipping by UPS. You can choose expedited shipping if your jobs are time-sensitive.


Q. In what regions is Snowball Edge available?

Check the Regional Service Availability pages for the latest information.

We regret that we cannot provide the service at this time in all US states.

Q. May I ship a Snowball between AWS regions?

No. Snowball Edge devices are designed to be requested and used within a single AWS region. It may not be requested from one region and returned to another, or used to transfer data out of one region and directly into another. Snowball Edge devices used for imports or exports from an AWS region in the EU may be used with any of the 28 EU countries.


Q. Does Snowball Edge encrypt my data?

Snowball Edge encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption. You manage your encryption keys by using the AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS). Your keys are never stored on the device and all memory on a Snowball is erased when it is disconnected and to be returned to AWS.

Q. How does Snowball Edge physically secure my data?

In addition to using a tamper-resistant enclosure, Snowball Edge uses industry-standard Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) designed to detect any unauthorized modifications to the hardware, firmware, or software. AWS visually and cryptographically inspects every device for any signs of tampering and to verify that no changes were detected by the TPM.

Q. How does Snowball Edge help digitally secure my data?

Snowball Edge is designed with security in mind for the most sensitive data. All data is encrypted by keys provided by you through AWS Key Management Service (KMS). The keys are not permanently stored on the device and are erased after loss of power. Applications and Lambda functions run in a physically isolated environment and do not have access to storage. Lastly, after your data has been transferred to AWS, your data is erased from the device using standards defined by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Snowball Edge devices are hardened against attack and all configuration files are encrypted and signed with keys that are never present on the device.

Q. Is there a way to easily track my data transfer jobs?

Snowball Edge uses an innovative, E Ink shipping label designed to ensure the device is automatically sent to the correct AWS facility. When you have completed your data transfer job, you can track it by using Amazon SNS generated text messages or emails, and the console.


Q: How do I transfer my data to the Snowball Edge?

After you have connected and activated the Snowball Edge, you can transfer data from local sources to the device through the S3-compatible endpoint or the NFS file interface, both available on the device. You can also use the Snowball client to copy data. To learn more, please refer to the Snowball Edge documentation.

Q: What do I do when the data has been transferred to the Snowball Edge?

When the data transfer job is complete, the E Ink display on the Snowball Edge automatically updates the return shipping label to indicate the correct AWS facility to ship to. Just drop off the Snowball Edge at the nearest UPS and you're all set. You can track the status of your transfer job through Amazon SNS generated text messages or emails, or directly in the AWS Management Console.


Q: What does it cost to export my data?

In addition to the Snowball Export job fees detailed on our pricing page, you will also be charged all fees incurred to retrieve your data from Amazon S3.


Q. What is the S3-compatible endpoint on Snowball Edge?

The S3-compatible endpoint on Snowball Edge allows you to read and write data on the device using select S3 operations and client tools that support S3.

Q. What S3 operations are supported by the S3-compatible endpoint on Snowball Edge?

The S3-compatible endpoint supports the Get, Head, Put, Delete, List, and MultipartUpload operations of Amazon S3. You can execute these operations on the Snowball Edge as if you are accessing an S3 web service endpoint. In addition, you can point client tools that support S3 to the Snowball Edge to read and write data.

Q. Why would I use the S3-compatible endpoint?

The S3-compatible endpoint lets you transfer data programmatically using the S3 operations natively supported by the Snowball Edge. You can also seamlessly integrate Snowball Edge into your existing applications and workflows built for Amazon S3.

Q. How is my data secured when I use the S3-compatible endpoint?

Data transferred via the S3-compatible endpoint is protected by the same advanced security mechanism on the Snowball Edge, which encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption. You manage your encryption keys using the AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS). Your keys are never stored on the device and all memory on the Snowball Edge is erased when it is unplugged.

Q. Which programming languages does the S3-compatible endpoint support?

The S3-compatible endpoint supports the REST interface which is language-agnostic.


Q: What is the file interface on Snowball Edge?

The file interface allows you to store and retrieve data as files on the Snowball Edge. File system metadata, including permissions, ownership, and timestamps, is preserved as you copy files to the Snowball Edge. File operations including write, read, delete, rename, and truncate are supported natively on the device. When the Snowball Edge is shipped back to AWS for data import, your files will be ingested and stored as objects in Amazon S3 and can be accessed either as objects directly from S3 or as files through the AWS Storage Gateway.

Q: What use cases does the file interface on Snowball Edge enable?

The file interface enables three use cases. First of all, you can migrate existing files into Amazon S3 as objects while preserving the file metadata. The file interface is one of many ways to write data to the Snowball Edge, in addition to the S3-compatible endpoint and the Snowball client. Secondly, you can use the file interface to bootstrap your AWS Storage Gateway by seeding large initial datasets quickly into AWS S3 using Snowball Edge for data transfer. Once data is available in S3, you can point your AWS Storage Gateway to the S3 buckets to access data as files. Finally, you can use Snowball Edge as a file destination for your on-premises file-based workflows. You can simply point these workflows to the Snowball Edge without changing the workflow applications.

Q: What are the benefits of the file interface on Snowball Edge?

The file interface allows you to use Snowball Edge for file-based workloads and preserves file metadata when you migrate your files to Amazon S3 as objects.

Q: What file protocols are supported?

NFS V3 and V4.1 are supported.

Q: How are files stored on Snowball Edge?

Files are stored as objects on the Snowball Edge. File system metadata such as permissions, ownership, and timestamps, is stored in user-defined object headers. All data and metadata is encrypted on the Snowball Edge.

Q: How do I use the file interface on Snowball Edge?

When you create a Snowball Edge job in the AWS console or through the Snowball job API, your can select a number of S3 buckets to be activated as “File Shares”. Once the Snowball Edge arrives at your site, you can access these file shares without changing your existing file based workflows. File system operations including write, read, delete, rename, and truncate are supported by the interface. When you copy files to the Snowball Edge, your files will be written as objects in the local S3 buckets and the file system metadata including permissions, ownership, and timestamps is preserved as user-defined metadata in object headers. Once you ship the Snowball Edge back to Amazon, data will be imported to S3 and be available as objects in your S3 buckets or as files through the AWS Storage Gateway.

Q: How do I configure the file interface on the Snowball Edge?

You can use the local LCD display on the Snowball Edge to disable/enable the file interface, monitor the file interface status, and open a support channel.

Q: Should I use the file interface to load data into the Snowball Edge or use the Snowball client or the S3-compatible endpoint?

It depends on the format of your data source and how you want to use the data after the migration. If your data is stored in files, it might be easier to use the file interface to copy data so that you can continue to access them from your existing file-based workflows. If your data source is not in file format, then you can use either the Snowball client or the S3-compatible endpoint.

Q: How does the file interface on Snowball Edge compare with the AWS Storage Gateway?

The file interface on Snowball Edge enables you to easily migrate files to AWS in an “off-line” mode. This is useful when you need to transfer large data sets that can don’t need to be made immediately available in AWS. The AWS Storage Gateway enables you to migrate files to objects in AWS S3 in real time over the Internet or AWS Direct Connect and makes your migrated files instantly available. In addition, the file interface on Snowball Edge does not provide the caching capabilities available in the AWS Storage Gateway.

Q: Can I access files migrated via the file interface on Snowball Edge from Amazon EFS?

No. Files migrated via the file interface on Snowball Edge can be accessed directly as objects in S3 or as files through the AWS Storage Gateway.


Q: Can multiple Snowball Edge devices be clustered together?

Yes, multiple Snowball Edge devices can be clustered into a larger storage pool with increased durability and a single S3-compatible end-point. You must create a Snowball Edge cluster when you provision a job and specify the number of devices. You cannot build a cluster from individually provisioned devices.

Q: When would I consider clustering Snowball Edge devices?

Clustering Snowball Edge devices creates a more durable, scalable, local storage pool. Snowball Edge clusters allow you to scale your local storage capacity up or down depending on your requirements by adding or removing devices.

Q: What is the usable space in a Snowball Edge cluster?

A Snowball Edge cluster provides usable storage that is approximately 60% of the cluster’s total physical capacity. For example, in a 6 device cluster with 600TB of physical capacity, you’ll effectively realize usable space of 360TB. The cluster automatically manages the storage pool on your behalf and is designed to protect your data even when as many as one-third of devices in the cluster fail.

Q: How can I create a Snowball Edge cluster?

When you order a new Snowball Edge, from the management console, you have the option to add it to your existing cluster or create a new cluster. Based on your selection, the Snowball Edge will be configured to automatically join an existing cluster or form a new cluster when it joins your local network. You can also do this with the job management API.

Q: Can I change the cluster assignment after receiving the Snowball Edge?

No. Once assigned to a cluster, a Snowball Edge cannot be moved to another cluster or be used as a standalone device. For details, please see the Snowball Edge documentation.

Q: Can I scale the storage size of a cluster up and down?

Yes, as more storage is needed, additional Snowball Edge devices can be ordered and added to a cluster. Similarly, when you can reduce the size of the cluster by removing Snowball Edge devices from the cluster and returning them to AWS.

Q: How can I remove a Snowball Edge device from the cluster?

You can use the Snowball Edge client to remove one or more devices from a Snowball Edge cluster and then shutting them down. Once removed, the E ink display is updated to the return address label and these devices are ready to be shipped back to AWS.

Q: How many Snowball Edge devices can be in a cluster?

The minimum cluster size is 5 devices. You can scale up your cluster beyond 5 by adding individual unts.

Q: How durable is the data on the Snowball Edge cluster?

The durability of a Snowball Edge cluster depends on the number of devices and how you configure it. Please refer to the Snowball Edge documentation.


Q: What is AWS Greengrass?

Snowball Edge comes with an embedded version of AWS Greengrass which allows you to execute Python-language AWS Lambda functions in response to S3 PUT object events.

Q: What Greengrass features are available on Snowball Edge?

You can deploy Python-language Lambda functions to Snowball Edge devices and trigger those Lambdas against S3 PUTs. The only trigger currently available is S3 PUT object. Different S3 buckets can have different Lambda functions associated to them. You can trigger one Lambda function against puts to each S3 bucket.

Q: What are some possible use cases for Greengrass on Snowball Edge?

You can write Lambda functions to process the data that is written to the Snowball Edge via the S3 PUT object command through the S3-compatible endpoint on the device. This allows you to do things like collect and analyze sensor data streams or compress images in-real time.

Q: How do I use Greengrass on Snowball Edge?

You will use the Snowball Edge console or the job management APIs to map Lambda functions to S3 buckets, test those Lambda functions in the cloud, and deploy them to Snowball Edge devices before they are shipped to you.

Q: What happens if I use AWS Greengrass on a Snowball Edge cluster?

You can use Greengrass on a Snowball Edge cluster which supports an S3-compatible endpoint. You can deploy Python-language Lambda functions to the cluster and trigger those Lambda functions against S3 PUT object commands issued against the S3-compatible endpoint.

Q: How many Lambda functions can there be for each job?

Each Lambda function can be associated with a single S3 bucket on the Snowball Edge. Keep in mind that Lambda functions are loaded into the 3.744 GB of available memory when the job is provisioned. For example, this means that if you allocated 128 MB of memory to each of your functions, you could have up to 29 Lambda functions associated with 29 buckets in a single job.

Q: Can I use Greengrass on Snowball Edge from any AWS Region?

You can create compute jobs in any region that is supported by both AWS Snowball Edge and AWS Lambda. In regions that only support AWS Snowball Edge and not AWS Lambda, you can still create jobs for Snowball Edge devices, however they won’t have access to the compute functionality.


Q. How much does it cost to use Snowball Edge?

Each Snowball Edge job costs a flat fee of $300 for device handling and operations at AWS data centers. The $300 job fee includes 10 day of use at your site. The day that the device is received and the day that the device is shipped are not counted towards these 10 days. Beyond that, a Snowball Edge costs $30/day for each extra day that it is at your site. Data transferred into AWS does not incur any data transfer fees, and Standard Amazon S3 pricing applies for data stored. Exporting data starts at $0.03/GB. In addition, shipping charges are calculated based on standard carrier rates for the shipping location and shipping option (e.g. 2-day, overnight) you choose. The default shipping option is 2-day.

Pricing Example:

The pricing example below illustrates what you can expect to pay for a 90TB data transfer into AWS using a single 100TB Snowball Edge device, where you kept the device for a total of 15 days (received the device on day 1 and returned the device on day 15).

The day the device is received and the day the device is shipped back to AWS are considered shipping days, and are not counted toward the 10 free days in this case. This means you had the device onsite for a total of 13 days, and 10 out of those days are free. Therefore you used 3 extra days to transfer your data.

Service fee:                                       $300

Daily charges (3 days x $30/day):     $90

Shipping charges:                             vary by distance

Data transfer cost:                            $0

Q. Am I charged for Amazon S3 usage if I use the S3-compatible endpoint on Snowball Edge?

No, you don't incur additional charges for using the S3-compatible endpoint on Snowball Edge. If your Snowball Edge transfers data into Amazon S3, standard S3 request and storage charges will apply.

Q. Can I purchase a Snowball Edge device?

No. Snowball Edge devices are only available on a per-job pay-as-you-go basis, and are not available for purchase.