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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.

Setting Up Your AWS Access

Before you use AWS Snowball (Snowball) for the first time, you need to complete the following tasks:

Sign Up for AWS

When you sign up for Amazon Web Services (AWS), your AWS account is automatically signed up for all services in AWS, including AWS Import/Export. You are charged only for the services that you use. For more information about pricing and fees for Snowball, go to AWS Snowball Pricing. Snowball is not free to use; for more information on what AWS services are free, go to AWS Free Usage Tier.

If you have an AWS account already, skip to the next task. If you don't have an AWS account, use the following procedure to create one.

To create an AWS account

  1. Open https://aws.amazon.com/, and then choose Create an AWS Account.

  2. Follow the online instructions.

    Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.

Note your AWS account number, because you'll need it for the next task.

Create an IAM User

Services in AWS, such as AWS Import/Export, require that you provide credentials when you access them, so that the service can determine whether you have permission to access its resources. AWS recommends not using the root credentials of your AWS account to make requests. Instead, create an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user, and grant that user full access. We refer to these users as administrator users.

You can use the administrator user credentials, instead of root credentials of your account, to interact with AWS and perform tasks, such as to create an Amazon S3 bucket, create users, and grant them permissions. For more information, see Root Account Credentials vs. IAM User Credentials in the AWS General Reference and IAM Best Practices in IAM User Guide.

If you signed up for AWS but have not created an IAM user for yourself, you can create one using the IAM console.

To create an IAM user for yourself and add the user to an Administrators group

  1. Sign in to the IAM console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/iam/.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Users, and then choose Add user.

  3. For User name, type a user name, such as Administrator. The name can consist of letters, digits, and the following characters: plus (+), equal (=), comma (,), period (.), at (@), underscore (_), and hyphen (-). The name is not case sensitive and can be a maximum of 64 characters in length.

  4. Select the check box next to AWS Management Console access, select Custom password, and then type the new user's password in the text box. You can optionally select Require password reset to force the user to select a new password the next time the user signs in.

  5. Choose Next: Permissions.

  6. On the Set permissions for user page, choose Add user to group.

  7. Choose Create group.

  8. In the Create group dialog box, type the name for the new group. The name can consist of letters, digits, and the following characters: plus (+), equal (=), comma (,), period (.), at (@), underscore (_), and hyphen (-). The name is not case sensitive and can be a maximum of 128 characters in length.

  9. For Filter, choose Job function.

  10. In the policy list, select the check box for AdministratorAccess. Then choose Create group.

  11. Back in the list of groups, select the check box for your new group. Choose Refresh if necessary to see the group in the list.

  12. Choose Next: Review to see the list of group memberships to be added to the new user. When you are ready to proceed, choose Create user.

You can use this same process to create more groups and users, and to give your users access to your AWS account resources. To learn about using policies to restrict users' permissions to specific AWS resources, go to Access Management and Example Policies for Administering AWS Resources.

To sign in as this new IAM user, sign out of the AWS Management Console, then use the following URL, where your_aws_account_id is your AWS account number without the hyphens (for example, if your AWS account number is 1234-5678-9012, your AWS account ID is 123456789012):

https://your_aws_account_id.signin.aws.amazon.com/console/

Type the IAM user name and password that you just created. When you're signed in, the navigation bar displays "your_user_name @ your_aws_account_id".

If you don't want the URL for your sign-in page to contain your AWS account ID, you can create an account alias. From the IAM dashboard, choose Create Account Alias and type an alias, such as your company name. To sign in after you create an account alias, use the following URL:

https://your_account_alias.signin.aws.amazon.com/console/

To verify the sign-in link for IAM users for your account, open the IAM console and check under AWS Account Alias on the dashboard.

If you're going to create Snowball jobs through an IAM user that is not an administrator user, that user needs certain permissions to use the AWS Snowball Management Console effectively. For more information on those permissions, see Creating an IAM User for Snowball.