AWS Snow Family FAQs


Q: What is the AWS Snow Family?

The AWS Snow Family is part of the continuum of AWS Hybrid Cloud services that extend AWS infrastructure and services into the edge, helping customers run low-latency applications close to where data originates, is processed, acted upon, and to meet data residency requirements. The AWS Hybrid Cloud services, include AWS Local Zones, AWS Wavelength, AWS Outposts, AWS Snow Family, and AWS IoT provide customers a consistent AWS experience and use the same services, APIs, and tools to develop, deploy, and manage their applications in the cloud and at the edge. Snow Family with AWS Snowball Edge and AWS Snowcone are designed for two use cases: 1) running edge compute applications in unconditioned or mobile environments such as construction sites, ships, and rapidly deployed military forces and 2) for transferring data from on-premises and from rugged or mobile environments. AWS Snowcone is an ultra-portable, secure, and rugged device that you can use case to collect, process, and move data to AWS, either offline by shipping the device, or online with AWS DataSync. AWS Snowball is a suitcase-sized, secure, and rugged device that is available in two device options: Snowball Edge Compute Optimized with up to 104 vCPU for running your compute applications and AWS Snowball Edge Storage Optimized with 80 TB for data migration and 210TB for data migration and local edge storage.

It is well-suited for local storage and large-scale data transfer. Compute optimized devices are available with 52CPUs, 208GB RAM, 42TB HDD, and 7.68TB of SSD storage and 32/52/104vCPUs, 416GB RAM, and 28TB NVMe drives. The Compute Optimized devices also support a GPU option.

Q: What are some example use cases?

You can run your edge compute operations using Snow devices in locations with denied, disconnected, intermittent, or limited (DDIL) network connectivity to AWS.  AWS Snow Family has two distinct businesses - rugged, mobile edge compute and data migration. Snow Family services are designed for denied, disrupted, intermittent, and limited (DDIL) connectivity edge compute and edge data storage use cases.You can use AWS Snowball Edge and AWS Snowcone as an IoT Hub, to run data analytics, to run image analytics and video analytics for content generated at the edge, or to run AI/ML inference at the edge.

Some large data transfer examples include cloud migration, disaster recovery, data center relocation, and/or remote data collection projects.

Q: Why do I need Snow Family services?

AWS Snow Family enables you to deploy solutions to seamlessly capture, process, and move data at the edge by delivering AWS infrastructure and services in Denied, Disrupted, Interrupted and Limited (DDIL) environments. Snowcone and Snowball Edge support a select set of AWS services for Snow such as Amazon EC2 compatible instances, Amazon S3 compatible storage, Amazon EBS compatible block storage, AWS IAM, Amazon EKS Anywhere, AWS IoT Greengrass, Amazon Sagemaker Edge, and AWS DataSync. You can run compute applications such as AMIs or virtual machines (VMs) on Amazon EC2 compatible instances with Amazon EBS compatible block storage. You can deploy applications as containers on EKS Anywhere on Snow, or as Lambda functions. With AWS IAM for Snow, you can manage access to resources and applications running on the Snow devices. AWS DataSync for Snow enables you to transfer data between the Snow device at the edge and AWS. Snowcone and Snowball Edge bring computing applications closer to the data source to enhance analysis and deliver real-time results.

The Snow Family helps expedite offline data transfers in a secure and cost-effective way. Each service has a pre-set capacity level to make it easy to choose the right option for you.

Q: Which Snow Family service is best for me?

The Snow Family includes two services, AWS Snowcone and AWS Snowball Edge. Each service supports multiple configurations based on available compute capability and supported storage capacity.

First, determine the amount of storage capacity you need. Then, evaluate your need for onboard computing capabilities.

Please refer to the feature comparison table for more details.

Q: How quickly can I migrate data?

For large data migrations, you can use multiple Snowball Edge devices with 80 TB HDD or 210 TB NVMe storage density and Snow job planning using Snow Data Transfer manager to migrate up to 1 PB data (or 2PB with the 210TB device) per month.

Q: How much clustered storage can I deploy with Snow devices?

With Amazon S3 compatible storage on Snow, you can create multi-device S3 clusters ranging from 2.5TB usable S3 capacity on a single device to 2.6PB usable S3 capacity in a 16-device cluster.

Q: How do I choose between Snow Family and other AWS data migration services?

AWS Storage Gateway and AWS Direct Connect services are good choices when network bandwidth limitations do not exist. For the most efficient means of data transfer, whether connected to a network or not, the Snow Family of services provides good choices as well. AWS offers a variety of tools to help you move data via networks, roads, and technology partners. See the pages below to find out which service is best for you.

Learn more about migrating to AWS here »

Learn more about which data migration tool is right for you »

Q: What AWS Regions are supported?

Snow Family services are available for use in specific AWS Regions. See the Regional Service Availability pages, for more information.

Q: What safety and compliance guidelines should I be aware of?

Download the AWS Snow Family Safety and Compliance Guideline for best practices and compliance statements based on your region.

Learn more about AWS Snow Family

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