AWS Snowball
User Guide

This guide is for the standard Snowball (50TB or 80TB of storage space). If you are looking for documentation for the Snowball Edge, see the AWS Snowball Edge Developer Guide.

AWS Snowball Limits

Following, you can find information about limitations on using AWS Snowball (Snowball).

Limitations on Jobs in Snowball

The following limitations exist for creating Snowball jobs:

  • For security purposes, data transfers must be completed within 90 days of the Snowball being prepared.

  • Currently, Snowball doesn't support server-side encryption with AWS KMS–managed keys (SSE-KMS) or server-side encryption with customer-provided keys (SSE-C). Snowball does support server-side encryption with Amazon S3–managed encryption keys (SSE-S3). For more information on SSE-S3, see Protecting Data Using Server-Side Encryption with Amazon S3-Managed Encryption Keys (SSE-S3) in the Amazon Simple Storage Service Developer Guide.

  • In the US regions, Snowballs come in two sizes: 50 TB and 80 TB. All other regions have the 80 TB Snowballs only. If you're using Snowball to import data, and you need to transfer more data than will fit on a single Snowball, create additional jobs. Each export job can use multiple Snowballs.

  • The default service limit for the number of Snowballs you can have at one time is 1. If you want to increase your service limit, contact AWS Support.

  • All objects transferred to the Snowball have their metadata changed. The only metadata that remains the same is filename and filesize. All other metadata is set as in the following example: -rw-rw-r-- 1 root root [filesize] Dec 31 1969 [path/filename]

Limitations on Transferring On-Premises Data with a Snowball

The following limitations exist for transferring data to or from a Snowball on-premises:

  • Files must be in a static state while being copied. Files that are modified while they are being transferred will not be imported into Amazon S3.

  • Jumbo frames are not supported—that is, Ethernet frames with more than 1500 bytes of payload.

  • When selecting what data to export, keep in mind that objects with trailing slashes in their names (/ or \) will not be transferred. Before exporting any objects with trailing slashes, update their names to remove the slash.

  • When using the Amazon S3 Adapter for Snowball with the AWS CLI to transfer data, note that the --recursive option for the cp command is only supported for uploading data to a Snowball, not for transferring data from a Snowball.

Limitations on Shipping a Snowball

The following limitations exist for shipping a Snowball:

  • AWS will not ship a Snowball to a post office box.

  • AWS will not ship a Snowball between non-US regions—for example, from EU (Ireland) to EU (Frankfurt), or from Asia Pacific (Mumbai) to Asia Pacific (Sydney).

  • Moving a Snowball to an address other than the one specified when the job was created is not allowed and is a violation of the AWS Service Terms.

For more information on shipping, see Shipping Considerations for AWS Snowball.

Limitations on Processing Your Returned Snowball for Import

To connect your returned Snowball to one of our Snowball stations for import, the appliance must meet the following requirements:

  • The Snowball appliance must not be compromised. Except for the two access panels in the front and the back, don't open the Snowball for any reason.

  • The appliance must not be physically damaged. You can prevent damage by closing the two panels on the Snowball until the latches make an audible clicking sound.

  • The Snowball's E Ink display must be visible, and must show the return label that was automatically generated when you finished transferring your data onto the Snowball.


All Snowballs returned that do not meet these requirements are erased without work performed on them.