Amazon introduces ‘Snowmobile’ to transfer petabytes of data faster than ever

Amazon has revealed a new service to transfer hundreds of petabytes of data as soon as possible to the cloud. The transfer is far from regular, the data doesn’t go over the usual DSL, cable or fiber connection, neither is it wirelessly transmitted. Amazon’s solution exists of specially equipped trucks which the company has named Snowmobiles.

The company already offered special hardware to ship data safely to the cloud through a special external storage device called Snowball. This allowed users to physically move 80 terabytes of data, in one time, to the cloud.

With the new Snowmobiles the amount of storage that can be transferred is greatly increased, a single truck can transfer up to 100 petabytes.


Amazon developed the solution as uploading so much data takes way too much time. “It will take  26 years to move an exabyte to the cloud over a 10Gbps connection”, according to Andy Jassy, CEO Of Amazon Web Services. The Snowmobile can be filled up with data in 10 days when it’s offered with a maximum speed of 1 terabyte per second, which is possible through several 40Gbps glass fiber connections with the truck.

Data on the Snowmobile is protected by multiple layers of security. This includes dedicated security personnel, GPS tracking, alarm monitoring, 24/7 video surveillance, and an optional escort security vehicle while in transit. Besides that, all data is encrypted with 256-bit encryption keys.

Snowmobile pricing is based on the amount of data stored on the truck per month (Amazon lists an indicative price of $0.005/GB per month for provisioned capacity) and the service is only available in the United States.