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.

Using the Snowball Appliance

Following, you can find an overview of the Snowball appliance, the physically rugged appliance protected by AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) that you'll use to transfer data between your on-premises data centers and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). This overview includes images of the Snowball, instructions for preparing the appliance for data transfer, and networking best practices to help optimize your data transfer.

For information on transferring data to or from a Snowball, see Transferring Data with a Snowball.

When the Snowball first arrives, inspect it for damage or obvious tampering.


If you notice anything that looks suspicious about the Snowball, don't connect it to your internal network. Instead, contact AWS Support, and a new Snowball will be shipped to you.

The following is what the Snowball will look like.

        The Snowball is a big grey suitcase-looking thing that's loud and weighs under 50

It has two panels, a front and a back, which are opened by latches and flipped up to rest on the top of the Snowball.

        The Snowball is a big grey suitcase-looking thing that's loud and weighs under 50

Open the front panel first, flip it on top of the Snowball, and then open the back panel second, flipping it up to rest on the first.

        The Snowball is a big grey suitcase-looking thing that's loud and weighs under 50

Doing this gives you access to the touch screen on the E Ink display embedded in the front side of the Snowball, and the power and network ports in the back.

Remove the cables from the cable catch, and plug the Snowball into power. Each Snowball has been engineered to support data transfer over RJ45, SFP+ copper, or SFP+ optical 10 gigabit Ethernet. Choose a networking option, and plug the Snowball into your network. Power on the Snowball by pressing the power button above the E Ink display.

You’ll hear the Snowball internal fans start up, and the display changes from your shipping label to say Preparing. Wait a few minutes, and the Ready screen appears. When that happens, the Snowball is ready to communicate with the Snowball client data transfer tool and accept your incoming traffic.

        The Snowball is ready.

The E Ink display is used to provide you with shipping labels and with the ability to manage the IP address that the Snowball will use to communicate across your local network.

Changing Your IP Address

You can change your IP address to a different static address, which you provide by following this procedure.

To change the IP address of a Snowball

  1. On the E Ink display, tap Network. You'll see the following screen that shows you the current network settings for the Snowball.

              DHCP is on by default.
  2. At the top of the page, you'll see that RJ45, SFP+ Copper, or SFP+ Optical has been highlighted. This value represents the type of connection that Snowball is currently using to communicate on your local network. Here, on the active DHCP tap, you'll see your current network settings. To change to a static IP address, tap Static.

              Static is an option.

    On this page, you can change the IP address and network mask to your preferred values.

Preparing a Snowball for Shipping

The following explains how to prepare a Snowball appliance and ship it back to AWS.

To prepare a Snowball for shipping

  1. Make sure that you've finished transferring all the data for this job to or from the Snowball.

  2. Power off the Snowball by pressing the power button above the digital display.


    If you've powered off and unplugged the Snowball, and your shipping label doesn't appear after about a minute, contact AWS Support.

  3. Disconnect and stow the cables the Snowball was sent with. The back panel of the Snowball has a cable caddie that hold the cables safely during the return trip.

  4. Close the two panels on the back and front of the Snowball, pressing in until you hear and feel them click.

You don't need to pack the Snowball in a container, because it is its own physically rugged shipping container. The E Ink display on the front of the Snowball changes to your return shipping label when the Snowball is turned off.

Shipping a Snowball

The prepaid shipping label contains the correct address to return the Snowball. For information on how to return your Snowball, see Shipping Carriers. The Snowball will be delivered to an AWS sorting facility and forwarded to the AWS data center. Package tracking is available through your region's carrier. You can track status changes for your job by using the AWS Snowball Management Console.


Unless personally instructed otherwise by AWS, don't affix a separate shipping label to the Snowball. Always use the shipping label that is displayed on the Snowball digital display.