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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.

Troubleshooting AWS Snowball

The following can help you troubleshoot problems that you might have with AWS Snowball (Snowball). If you're having trouble establishing a connection to a Snowball, see Why can’t my AWS Snowball appliance establish a connection with the network? in the AWS Knowledge Center.

Troubleshooting Data Transfer Problems

  • If you're having trouble using the Snowball client, type the command snowball help for a list of all available actions for that tool.

  • Data can't be transferred into the root folder of the Snowball. If you're having trouble transferring data into the Snowball, make sure that you're transferring data into a folder on the Snowball that is not the root folder.

  • When you transfer data, the copy operation first performs a pre-check on the metadata for each file to copy. If any of the following attributes are true about a file's metadata, then the copy operation stops before it transfers any files:

    • The size of the file is greater than 5 TB – Objects in Amazon S3 must be 5 TB or less in size, so files that are larger 5 TB in size can't be transferred to the Snowball. If you encounter this problem, separate the file into parts smaller than 5 TB, compress the file so that it's within the 5 TB limit, or otherwise reduce the size of the file and try again.

    • The file is a symbolic link, and only contains a reference to another file or directory – Symbolic links (or junctions) can't be transferred into Amazon S3.

    • There are permissions issues for access to the file – For example, a user might be trying to read a file on the Snowball client when that user doesn't have read permissions for that file. Permissions issues result in pre-check failures.

    • Object key length too large –If an object's key length is larger than 933 bytes, it will fail the pre-check.

    For a list of files that can't be transferred, check the terminal before data copying starts. You can also find this list in the <temp directory>/snowball-<random-character-string>/failed-files file, which is saved to your Snowball client folder on the workstation. For Windows this temp directory would be located in C:/Users/<username>/AppData/Local/Temp. For Linux and Mac, the temp directory would be located in /tmp.

  • Objects transferred onto Snowballs have a maximum key length of 933 bytes. Key names that include characters that take up more than one byte each still have a maximum key length of 933 bytes. When determining key length, you include the file or object name and also its path or prefixes. Thus, files with short file names within a heavily nested path can have keys longer than 933 bytes. The bucket name is not factored into the path when determining the key length. Some examples follow.

    Object NameBucket NamePath Plus Bucket NameKey Length
    sunflower-1.jpgpicturessunflower-1.jpg15 characters
    receipts.csvMyTaxInfo/Users/Eric/Documents/2016/January/47 characters
    bhv.1$7$zWwwXKQj$gLAOoZCj$r8p/.VfV/FqGC3QN$7BXys3KHYePfuIOMNjY83dVx ugPYlxVg/evpcQEJLT/rSwZc$MlVVf/$hwefVISRqwepB$/BiiD/PPF$twRAjrD/fIMp/0NY135 characters

    If a key's length is larger than 933 bytes, you'll see the following error message when you try to copy the object to a Snowball:

    Failed to copy the following file: <Name of object with a keylength over 933 bytes> PARENT_NOT_FOUND:

    If you receive this error message, you can resolve the issue by reducing the object's key length.

  • Although you can run multiple instances of the Snowball client at the same time, each instance of the client requires up to 7 GB of dedicated RAM for memory-intensive tasks, such as performing the snowball cp command. If your workstation runs out of memory as it runs the Snowball client, you'll see a Java OutOfMemoryError exception returned in the terminal window. You can resolve this issue by freeing up resources on the workstation or increasing the amount of memory for your workstation, and then performing your Snowball client task again.

  • For security purposes, data transfers must be completed within 90 days of the Snowball being prepared. After 90 days, the Snowball becomes locked to additional on-premises data transfers. If the Snowball becomes locked during a data transfer, return the Snowball and create a new job to transfer the rest of your data. If the Snowball becomes locked during an import job, we will still be able to transfer the existing data on the Snowball into Amazon S3.

  • If you're using Linux and you can't upload files with UTF-8 characters to a Snowball, it might be because your Linux workstation doesn't recognize UTF-8 character encoding. You can correct this issue by installing the locales package on your Linux workstation and configuring it to use one of the UTF-8 locales like en_US.UTF-8. You can configure the locales package by exporting the environment variable LC_ALL, for example: export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8

  • If you discover errors when you run the snowball validate command, identify the files that failed the transfer, resolve the issues that the error messages report, and then transfer those files again. If your validation command fails with the same error message, then you can use the –f option with the snowball cp command to force the copy operation and overwrite the invalid files.

  • If you're communicating with the Snowball through the Amazon S3 Adapter for Snowball using the AWS CLI, and you encounter an error that says Unable to locate credentials. You can configure credentials by running "aws configure". you will need to configure your AWS credentials used by the CLI to run commands. For more information, see Configuring the AWS Command Line Interface in the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide.

  • If you encounter unexpected errors during data transfer to the Snowball, we want to hear about it. Make a copy of your logs and include them along with a brief description of the issues that you encountered in a message to AWS Support. For more information about logs, see Snowball Logs.