- Ngoc Huynh
On Wednesday, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy had a big finish to his hourslong keynote speech at the AWS customer conference in Las Vegas.
He had someone drive a truck onto the stage, pulling out a giant container he called the Snowmobile.
The audience laughed and cheered. It looked like a gag, but it wasn’t.
This is a real product from AWS, and easily the biggest — if you’re measuring in feet — product announcement of the day.
The story of the Snowmobile started a year ago.
Now that every business, from startups to huge companies, is rushing to the cloud as fast as it can, AWS has turned its attention to a tricky problem: How do you physically get all of the data stored in a company’s massive data center into Amazon’s cloud?
Last year, Amazon announced a solution it called Snowball, a handheld box about the size of a desktop PC. A company rents it from Amazon, stuffs it with a petabyte of data, and ships it back to Amazon to unload. A petabyte is 1 million gigabytes, and it used to be considered an insane amount of data. In this way, a company could transfer a petabyte per week into Amazon’s cloud and eventually unplug its data center altogether if it wanted to.
Jassy didn’t think the Snowball would be much of a hit. He even “chastised” the Snowball team for manufacturing too many of them, he said on stage.
But he was wrong — big time. The team had to almost instantly “go back and order 10 times the number of Snowballs we have,” Jassy said. “I can’t believe how much data we’ve transferred with Snowball.”
It became such a big thing that IT folks started talking selfies with their Snowballs and sending them to Amazon.
These days, there are companies that store so much more data they measure it in exabytes. An exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes.
Using conventional means of transferring that data, “it will take you 26 years to move an exabyte to the cloud,” Jassy said.
Enter the Snowmobile. “With 10 Snowmobiles, it takes six months” to move that data to the cloud, Jassy said.
So for a company sitting on a mind-boggling amount of data, Amazon will drive a Snowmobile to its data center, load it up, and haul it back to Amazon.
As for the popular Snowball, Amazon has upgraded it with more capacity and computing power because people have come up with all kinds of innovative things they want to do with it besides use it to ship data to AWS.
Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/