AWS retires Snowmobile data in a lorry scheme

AWS logo
(Image credit: Future / Mike Moore)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has stopped offering to transport data via an 18-wheeler truck by retiring its Snowmobile service.

Andy Jassy, now Amazon CEO, revealed Snowmobile at the company’s 2016 re:Invent conference, where the truck, which was driven on stage, served as a 45-foot, 100-petabyte mobile shipping container designed to migrate large amounts of data from on-prem environments to the cloud.

However, as of March 2024, AWS quietly removed Snowmobile from its website, which CNBC has now confirmed.

AWS Snowmobile retired

In recent years, significant digital landscape developments have changed the way many businesses compute, and the cloud has become more commonplace. An AWS spokesperson told TechRadar Pro that it had introduced more cost-effective options for moving data, which has effectively rendered the truck obsolete:

"Since we introduced Snowmobile in 2016, we've released many other new services and features which have made migrating data to AWS even faster and easier for our customers."

With Snowmobile, clients faced the costs and logistical challenges of power, cooling, networking, parking, and security. The power-hungry solution needed a 350kW current on top of the $0.005 per gigabyte per month (or $500,000 per month for 100 petabytes).

At the time, the truck was a groundbreaking solution. Jassy revealed that the HDD-equipped Snowmobile could shift one exabyte, or 1 million terabytes, to the cloud in just six months using 10 of the trucks – something that might’ve taken 26 years with a 10Gbps connection.

Multiple 40Gbps connections provided each Snowmobile with a data transfer capability of 1Tbps, meaning it would take around 10 days to fully load a truck with data. 

The spokesperson added: “We couldn’t be more proud of the value that Snowmobile has brought to customers, and we're pleased to see them choosing newer, more efficient technologies like AWS DataSync to bring their data to AWS.”

As of now, the AWS Snow Family website refers customers to other solutions, like Snowcone and Snowball Edge.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!