Cloud Migration: Overcoming the Challenges of Large-scale Data Transfers with AWS Snowball
AWS Snowball. The Data Transfer Challenge
The process of transferring data to the AWS cloud can be as simple as connecting to your S3 account via the internet, selecting the files you need to upload, and sitting back to wait for a success notification.
Even though this model works for most individuals and small businesses, the process remains a challenge for businesses that need to move hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of data to the cloud. Even with high-speed network connections, it would make little sense, considering time and cost, trying to transfer such large sets of data using the traditional model.
Seamless Data Transfers with AWS Snowball
AWS Snowball is a large-scale data transfer solution for physically and securely moving large sets of data in and out of the Amazon cloud. The Snowball service uses rugged storage devices to transport the data from existing customer data centres to the AWS data centres. The physical appliances are shipped back and forth between these two data locations via package delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS.
Amazon developed Snowball to help businesses overcome common challenges associated with transferring large-scale data to the cloud, including security breaches, costly network upgrades, and long transfer periods. With Snowball, huge data transfers are fast, secure and relatively cheaper, sometimes costing as low as £155 per transfer job, excluding shipping charges.
How AWS Snowball Works
Snowball was designed to bring simplicity and security in a complex situation. No program code or hardware purchases are required for a successful completion of the import and export data transfer process. The following steps represent a summary of the Snowball workflow from start to finish.
1. The customer creates a data transfer job on his or her AWS account.
2. Amazon ships Snowball appliances to the customer. The number of appliances is dependent on the amount of data.
3. On receiving the Snowball device, the customer connects it to his or her computer network and then sets the correct IP address. The Snowball client is downloaded and installed on the host computer to assist in the data export process.
4. The Snowball client encrypts and copies data to the Snowball device at superfast speeds. When done, the E Ink sticker will automatically change state.
5. Amazon will ship the device back to its data centres and transfer the data to your S3. You can track the status of the job as a whole via SMS, Amazon SNS or management console.
6. Once the job is completed, you can now access your files remotely via various devices. The Snowball device is then erased in preparation for its next assignment.
Why Choose Snowball?
The Snowball service is suitable for entities that work with huge sets of data. Transferring such data to the cloud doesn’t have to be costly and complicated. With Snowball, the process is seamless, secure and cost-effective. Here are a few reasons why you should choose Snowball for your next data migration project.
1. Cost-effective: The Snowball service costs a fraction of what it would cost to perform data transfers via high-speed internet for an equal amount of data.
2. Time-saving: Even with a 100 Mbps internet connection, it will still take months to transfer the same amount of data that a single Snowball appliance can transfer in a day.
3. Secure: The Snowball appliances are protected by a tamper-proof casing and data encryption standards. Additionally, the encryption keys are managed by the user in the cloud and do not accompany the devices in transit.
4. Scalable: Multiple Snowball devices can be used to move data in tens of petabytes simultaneously.
5. Easy retrieval of data: Using Snowball, data can be moved inexpensively in and out of the Amazon cloud as often as your business operations may demand.
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