AWS Snowcone: Ultra-portable, secure edge computing, storage, and data transfer device

Amazon Web Services announced AWS Snowcone, a new small, ultra-portable, rugged, and secure edge computing and data transfer device.

AWS Snowcone

At under 5 lbs and able to fit in a standard mailbox or a small backpack, AWS Snowcone is the smallest member of the AWS Snow Family of devices, enabling customers to collect data, process it locally, and move it to AWS either offline (by shipping the device to AWS) or online (by using AWS DataSync to send the data to AWS over the network).

AWS Snowcone is built to withstand harsh conditions and is designed for a variety of use cases in environments outside of the traditional data center that lack consistent network connectivity and/or require portability, including healthcare, industrial IoT, drones, tactical edge computing, content distribution, data migration, video content creation, and transportation.

Millions of customers have applications that rely on AWS for data processing, analytics, storage, IoT, and machine learning capabilities. Increasingly, edge computing use cases (like machine learning inference, industrial IoT, and autonomous machines) drive customers’ need to move data capture, processing, and analysis closer to end users and devices.

Running applications in disconnected environments or connected edge locations can be challenging because often these locations lack the space, power, and cooling common in data centers.

Today, customers use the AWS Snow Family (a collection of physical devices designed to run outside the data center and ranging in size from the suitcase-sized AWS Snowball to the 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container AWS Snowmobile) to collect and process data, run local computing applications, and move large volumes of data from log files, digital media, genomic data, and sensor data from connected devices to AWS.

As customers seek to extend the reach of their cloud infrastructure into more edge locations, new use cases are emerging for edge computing in more situations like vehicles (land, sea, and air), industrial operations, and remote and austere sites that require a rugged and secure device with even greater portability and a smaller form factor than the AWS Snow Family of devices has traditionally provided.

AWS Snowcone provides maximum flexibility for edge computing environments, offering a small, ultra-portable, rugged, and military grade secure device to run applications and migrate data to AWS.

AWS Snowcone measures 9 inches x 6 inches x 3 inches (23 cm x 15 cm x 8 cm) and weighs 4.5 lbs (2.1 kg). The device can easily fit in a backpack or messenger bag, standard mailbox, or any type of vehicle, and is light enough to be carried by drone.

AWS Snowcone can move data to AWS offline by shipping the device (using its E Ink shipping label) and online using Ethernet or Wi-Fi with AWS DataSync, which are integrated into the device.

AWS Snowcone features 2 CPUs, 4 GB of memory, 8 TB of storage, and USB-C power (or optional battery). AWS Snowcone is designed to operate in extreme environments or disconnected remote sites (including oil rigs, first responder vehicles, military operations, factory floors, remote offices, hospitals, or movie theaters) for long periods of time without traditional data center conditions.

With support for AWS IoT Greengrass, the ability to run Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, and ample local storage, AWS Snowcone can be used as an IoT hub, data aggregation point, application monitor, or lightweight analytics engine.

“Thousands of our customers have found AWS Snowball devices to be ideal for collecting data and running applications in remote and harsh environments. Since 2015, customer use of Snowball devices has greatly increased, as has their need for an even smaller device with even greater portability,” said Bill Vass, VP of Storage, Automation and Management Services, AWS.

“With more applications running at the edge for an expanding range of use cases, like analyzing IoT sensor data and machine learning inference, AWS Snowcone makes it easier to collect, store, pre-process, and transfer data from harsh environments with limited space to AWS for more intensive processing.”

Like other AWS Snow Family devices, all data on AWS Snowcone is encrypted using military grade 256-bit keys that customers can manage using the AWS Key Management Service (KMS). Additionally, AWS Snowcone contains anti-tamper and tamper-evident features to help ensure data on the device stays secure during transit.

AWS Snowcone meets stringent ruggedization standards (it meets ISTA-3A, ASTM D4169, and MIL-STD-810G standards) for free-fall shock and operational vibration. The device is dust-tight and water resistant (it meets the IP65 International Protection Marking IEC standard).

AWS Snowcone has a wide operating temperature range from freezing (0 degrees C/32 degrees F) to desert-like conditions (38 degrees C/100 degrees F), and withstands even harsher temperatures when in storage or being shipped (-32 degrees C/-25.6 degrees F to 63 degrees C/145.4 degrees F).

Setting up an AWS Snowcone takes only 3 clicks, and once set-up, the device is easily used and managed through a simple-to-use graphical interface. AWS Snowcone is available in the US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) AWS Regions, with availability planned in additional AWS Regions in the coming months.

Deluxe Entertainment Services (Deluxe) is the world’s leading video creation-to-distribution company offering global, end-to-end services and technology.

“Our work with AWS is a fundamental part of Deluxe’s strategy. One VZN, our new cloud-based IP delivery solution, is a leap in innovation for digital cinema distribution which has been stagnant over the past decade, fundamentally changing not only the economics of film distribution for exhibitors and studios around the globe, but enabling new theatrical experiences for viewers as well,” said Andy Shenkler, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Deluxe.

“The combination of AWS Snowcone, AWS DataSync, and Amazon S3 are essential to One VZN – the collective services distinguish themselves from any other cloud offerings today. The secure, compact AWS Snowcone device, in conjunction with Deluxe’s powerful cloud-based solutions create a truly differentiated solution of the industry.”

SmugMug+Flickr is the world’s largest and most influential photographer-centric platform. “For over a decade SmugMug has been storing billions of photos and videos for our millions of users in an accessible, available, and secure way using Amazon S3.

“With the introduction of AWS Snowcone, our customers now have a small, ultra-portable device with 8 terabytes of storage that allows them to capture more content during a photography or videography shoot, process the data locally, and then upload it to the cloud faster than ever,” Don MacAskill, CEO & Chief Geek, SmugMug and Flickr.

“AWS Snowcone’s small form factor and rugged, secure design allows us to simply ship these devices to customers so they can seamlessly copy and preserve their precious and valuable media whether in the comfort of their own home or out on a shoot off the grid in jungles, deserts, forests, mountains, in the middle of the ocean, and even in drone use cases.

“Customers can then ship the device back to AWS or retain the device for multiple shoots all while transferring their data online with AWS DataSync. AWS Snowcone helps our users and photographers effortlessly and flexibly share their passion, work, and inspiration with each other leveraging the SmugMug platform.”

Federated Wireless leads the industry in development of shared spectrum Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) capabilities. The company’s partner ecosystem includes more than 40 device manufacturers along with cloud edge partners, dedicated to collaborate for the advancement of CBRS services.

“The combination of AWS Snowcone and the Federated Wireless Connectivity-as-a-Service private wireless solution enables an expansive variety of new business models and indoor and outdoor scenarios at the edge of the cloud, and even beyond the edge of the network,” said Iyad Tarazi, President and CEO of Federated Wireless.

“The small form factor and robust capabilities of Snowcone provides us more flexibility in our technology architecture. The simplified, innovative delivery and proven cloud capabilities of the combined solution give organizations of all types and sizes the security, compute power, portability, and mobility they need to meet their most pressing business and operational objectives.”

Novetta is an advanced analytics solutions company focused on mission success for its customers in the public sector, defense, intelligence, and federal law enforcement communities.

“AWS is leading in the development of practical, mission-ready edge computing technology that we use to build solutions to help our public sector clients save lives. AWS Snowcone is a great example of AWS innovation for the edge,” said Rob Sheen, Senior Vice President, Client Operations at Novetta.

“Snowcone gives us a rugged, secure, and portable edge computing platform that we can use in disaster zones and austere edge locations. In our recent field exercises, Snowcone performed admirably as a sensor hub at the edge to track people and assets in a disaster zone.”

CommScope pushes the boundaries of technology to create the world’s most advanced wired and wireless networks. “Companies looking to deploy private LTE networks and need simple, easy install solutions will find AWS Snowcone, coupled with the CommScope CBRS portfolio, function as an optimal pairing in solving business challenges.

“Snowcone is a perfect fit for powering up 100s of edge network devices with private LTE mobility,” said Upendra Pingle, Vice President, Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions, CommScope.

“As an AWS technology partner, CommScope’s CBRS solutions, including our Spectrum Access System and Radio Access Network offerings, will easily integrate for quick, frictionless deployments that give users total control of their data.

“The Snowcone device enables us to continue driving further innovations in our CBRS solutions all while transforming the barrier to entry for private LTE networks.”

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AWS Snowcone: Ultra-portable, secure edge computing, storage, and data transfer device