Amazon Makes Moving to the Cloud Easier with Snowball

shutterstock_157658462We’ve discussed at length here the benefits of migrating your IT infrastructure to the cloud. However, the process of executing said migration can be complicated, time consuming, and if not done properly, can cause major issues for your business. Of course an AWS cloud migration service can help, the move to the cloud (even with the best planning) takes time. One of the reasons why cloud migrations are so time-consuming is the amount of data that businesses often have to move to the cloud. Over the years, companies amass gigabytes, even terabytes of data. All of this data, whether it is actively used or dormant, needs to be moved from your on-premise servers to the cloud – and this process is not a quick one.

In order to make cloud migration to AWS even easier, Amazon has announced a newer version of its Snowball storage appliance. Originally released back in October of 2015, Amazon created a physical, hardware device that users could transfer their data to, and then send to one of the AWS availability regions. Essentially the Snowball storage appliance is one giant external hard drive that companies move all of their data over to in-house and then mail off to Amazon. Initially made available with a 50 terabyte (TB) capacity, this month, Amazon released an even bigger Snowball storage appliance with an 80TB capacity.

Snowball Compared to Online Data Transfer

Snowball data transfers are secured. The data stays in-house until sent off to Amazon, and there is no risk of cloud transfer interference via the internet as the data transfer happens from a physical device to the data center without an online connection. Snowball also helps to keep company networks open, free of cloud transfer traffic. If a company has to migrate up to 80TB of data to the cloud, even with the advanced cloud transfer protocols AWS has in place to facilitate traffic between on-premise servers and the cloud, it will still put a strain on a company’s bandwidth. Plus, users don’t have to worry about correctly mapping their onsite data to the cloud as Amazon takes care of that for them. Data transferred over to Snowball and then sent off to one of AWS’s data centers is migrated and mapped by Amazon, so that when users log into their cloud dashboards, all of their data is there; neatly organized and all.

The Fine Print

Amazon charges a $250 service charge for the use of a Snowball storage appliance, for the 80TB model. The 50TB model costs $200 to use. Amazon allows companies to keep the device onsite for free, for up to 10 days, and then users are charged $15 per day after the initial 10 day period, until the device is sent back. A sticking point for many businesses is that the UPS shipping costs to send the device back to Amazon are not included. However the time you can save by moving data to a hard drive storage device and then mailing it off to Amazon for migration to the AWS infrastructure, may well balance out the small investment required to request a Snowball, move the data onsite, and to mail back to a datacenter.

About the Author

Nick Underwood

Nick Underwood has over 15 years of experience supporting IT infrastructures for businesses across a broad range of industries.


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