Amazon now transfers its large quantity of data(several hundred GB or more) to cloud by vehicles instead of a computer network. Transfering truckloads of data through trucks, a nice catchphrase.

This method is known as Sneakernet.

Sneakernet is an informal term describing the transfer of electronic information by physically moving media such as magnetic tape, floppy disks, compact discs, USB flash drives or external hard drives from one computer to another; rather than transmitting the information over a computer network.

Meet the AWS snowmobile:

A tractor-trailer for when your big data is just too extreme (think GTA L). Real-life data hoarders can contract Amazon to move exabytes of data to the cloud using the new trucks. It’s designed to transport as many as 100 petabytes–around 100,000 terabytes–per truck.

Truck Full of Data
Amazon Web Service Snowmobile


Google Fiber provides an Internet connection speed of up to one gigabit per second (1,000 Mbit/s) for both download and upload. AWS snowmobile provides transfer of data by the truck speed of above 4900 gigabit per second (approx) which is way more faster than Google Fiber not including the time to actually upload the data to the database.

The truck consumes a whopping 350 kW of AC power. All this power fuels a switch that can handle one terabit of data per-second across multiple 40gbps connections.

Amazon has long let businesses ship hard disks full of data to Amazon for uploading into the retail giant’s cloud. But copying 100 petabytes to individual hard drives isn’t practical. Snowmobile acts like a giant hard drive that comes to you.

Truckload data



“On the security side, Snowmobile incorporates multiple layers of logical and physical protection, including chain-of-custody tracking and video surveillance. Each truck is weather-proofed and tamper-resistant and all data is encrypted“, by Amazon cloud evangelist Jeff Barr.

Containers also feature GPS tracking and video surveillance in addition to cellular and satellite connectivity back to AWS HQ. Amazon also outfitted its trucks to be both climate-controlled and water-proof.

Why Snowmobile?

The AWS Snowmobile came from an existing Amazon service called Snowball, in which Amazon sends customers a device that can hold almost a petabyte of data. A petabyte is one million gigabytes. Customers upload their data and ship it back to Amazon, which uploads it directly to its cloud.

But, Snowball was too small for some customers. Amazon also believes that some companies will need multiple Snowmobiles. The site advertises itself as capable of handling data at the exabytes scale—or by Amazon’s new measurement, ten truckloads.

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