Amazon turns to trucks for data transfers

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Computers have come a long way from the agonizingly slow days of dial-up—sort of.

As it turns out, companies that need to transfer massive amounts of data are being slowed by the internet and instead have found a faster and more secure option through Amazon’s new mobile data truck.

Unveiled Wednesday in Las Vegas at Amazon’s annual customer conference, Snowmobile is a 45-long shipping container. The one shown on the floor of the Sands Expo & Convention Center was hauled by a 2017 Kenworth T370 tractor. Amazon has several data trucks which customers are already using, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“This secure data truck stores up to 100 petabytes of data and can help you to move exabytes to Amazon Web Services in a matter of weeks (you can get more than one if necessary),” Amazon Web Services Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in his blog Wednesday.

“Designed to meet the needs of our customers in the financial services, media & entertainment, scientific, and other industries, Snowmobile attaches to your network and appears as a local, NFS-mounted volume. You can use your existing backup and archiving tools to fill it up with data destined for Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) or Amazon Glacier.”

This is how it works: Snowmobile is driven to an office where data is extracted through a specially designed cable at a top speed of 1 terabyte per second. (To put data transfer into perspective, it would take 26 years to transfer one exabyte of data through the internet versus six months using Snowmobile.)

Amazon can provide security guards to keep an eye on Snowmobile as it gets filled up on data. Security vehicle escorts will be provided when it’s time to get Snowmobile back to Amazon where the data will be transferred to the tech giant’s cloud.

Snowmobile was partly named after Amazon’s popular and portable suitcase-sized storage device Snowball, a 100- terabyte data transfer device that’s accessible through an Amazon Web Services interface.