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AWS Snowball
User Guide

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

AWS Snowball Specifications

The following table outlines hardware specifications for the Snowball appliance.

Item Specification
Storage capacity 50 TB Snowballs have 42 TB of usable space. 80 TB Snowballs have 72 TB of usable space.
On-board I/O 10-gigabit interfaces Each Snowball supports RJ45 (Cat6), SFP+ Copper, and SFP+ Optical.
Cables Each Snowball ships with RJ45 and copper SFP+ cables. For SFP+ optical, you need to use your own cable, connected to the SFP+ optical adapter in one of the SFP+ ports.
Thermal requirements Snowballs are designed for office operations, and are ideal for data center operations.
Decibel output On average, a Snowball produces 68 decibels of sound, typically quieter than a vacuum cleaner or living-room music.
Weight 47 pounds (21.3 Kg)
Height 19.75 inches (501 mm)
Width 12.66 inches (320 mm)
Length 21.52 inches (548 mm)
Power In the US regions: NEMA 5–15p 100–220 volts. In all regions, a power cable is included.
Power consumption 200 watts.
Voltage 100 – 240V AC
Frequency 47/63 Hz
Power conversion efficiency 80 – 84% at 25C, 230Vac
Temperature range 0 – 40°C (operational)
Non-operational Altitude Not specified
Operational Altitude 0 to 3,000m (0 to 10,000’)

Supported Network Hardware

After you open the back panel of the Snowball, you see the network ports shown in the following photograph.


        The available network ports.

These ports support the following network hardware.

1. RJ45

This port provides 1Gbase-TX/10Gbase-TX operation. It is connected via UTP cable terminated with a RJ45 connector.

1G operation is indicated by a blinking amber light. 1G operation is not recommended for large-scale data transfers to the Snowball device, as it will dramatically increase the time it takes to transfer data.

10G operation is indicated by a blinking green light. It requires a Cat6A UTP cable with a maximum operating distance of 180 feet(55 meters).


        RJ45

2. SFP+

This port provides an SFP+ interface compatible with both SFP+ transceiver modules and direct-attach copper (DAC) cables. You need to provide your own transceivers or DAC cables. Examples include:

  • 10Gbase-LR (single mode fiber) transceiver

  • 10Gbase-SR (multi-mode fiber) transceiver

  • SFP+ DAC cable


        SFP+

3. SFP+

This port provides an SFP+ interface and a 10Gbase-SR transceiver that uses multi-mode fiber optic media with an LC connector.


        SFP+ Optical

Workstation Specifications

The workstation is the computer, server, or virtual machine that hosts your mounted data source. You connect the Snowball to this workstation to transfer your data. Because the workstation is considered the bottleneck for transferring data between the Snowball and the data source, we highly recommend that your workstation be a powerful computer, able to meet high demands for processing, memory, and networking.

We recommend that your workstation be a computer dedicated to the task of running the Snowball client or the Amazon S3 Adapter for Snowball while you're transferring data. Each instance of the client or the adapter requires up to 7 GB of dedicated RAM for memory-intensive tasks, such as performing encryption.

Note

The hardware specifications for the workstations that are used to transfer data to and from a Snowball are for a powerful computer. These hardware specifications are mainly based on security requirements for the service. When data is transferred to a Snowball, a file is loaded into the workstation's memory. While in memory, that file is fully encrypted by either the Snowball client or the Amazon S3 Adapter for Snowball. Once the file is encrypted, chunks of the encrypted file are sent to the Snowball. At no point is any data stored to disk. All data is kept in memory, and only encrypted data is sent to the Snowball. These steps of loading into memory, encrypting, chunking, and sending to the Snowball are both CPU- and memory-intensive.

The following table outlines the suggested specifications for your workstation.

Item Suggested Specification
Processing power 16 core CPU
Memory

16 gigabytes of RAM

Important

Each running instance of the client and/or adapter requires up to 7 GB of dedicated RAM for memory-intensive tasks, such as performing the snowball cp command.

Microsoft Windows support (64-bit only)
  • Windows 7

  • Windows 8

  • Windows 10

Mac support Mac OS X version 10.10 or higher
Linux support (64-bit only)
  • Ubuntu version 12 or higher

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 6 or higher

User interface support
  • Keyboard

  • Mouse

  • Monitor

Network I/O support
  • RJ45

  • SFP+ Copper

  • SFP+ Optical