Amazon Snowmobile Semi-Truck is One Huge Hard Drive for Uploading Bulk Data to Servers

December 6, 2016, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Amazon Web Services, the cloud services from the e-retail giant, is getting a huge addition, and it’s huge literally. Called the Snowmobile, this semi-truck introduction from Amazon is actually a mobile data center that will handle massive amount of data uploads and transfers to the cloud.

Obviously, this cloud storage service is not for your normal video uploads. But instead, the mobile center will work in tandem with the truckload to gather and ship an entire company’s data, ranging from the archive data of movie studios to an entire library of satellite images from government agencies.

For backing up this huge sum of data, the Snowmobile data center is loaded with a capacity of uploading up to 100 petabytes of data, which is equal to over one million gigabytes of data. The data uploaded can be transferred to AWS cloud storage once the semi-truck reaches Amazon’s data centers.


This is not the first time Amazon has been offering a cloud service in the name of Snowmobile. Their previous snowmobile service let customers ship up to 80TB storage with a data speed of nearly 10Gbps. The data stored in the snowmobile is exported to servers upon reaching the respective data centers of Amazon.

Hauling bulk physical data through the roads might seem raise some eyebrows. But according to the company, this mode of transfer is even faster than when attempting to shoot it out to the servers directly. With the available data speeds, it would take over 20 years to transfer 100 petabytes of data to the cloud. But that’s under a fortnight when being transferred using the Snowmobile.

Amazon is offering Snowmobile data transfer at rates of $0.005 per GB, which translates to $500,000 for an entire truck of loaded data. For this cost, Amazon is offering temperature controlled, tamper-resistant, security guarded, GPS-tracked, transfer of data, which sounds a hugely safe and cost-effective deal for the needy ones. Besides, it also provides 24/7 video surveillance of the transfer along with alarm monitoring.

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