AWS Import/Export
Developer Guide

Create Your First Amazon EBS Import Job

An Amazon EBS import creates a virtual copy of your device as a single image. In such an import job, your device's file system won't be automatically mounted to an Amazon EC2 instance. Note that the maximum size of an Amazon EBS volume is 16 TB. Note also that the maximum capacity of a device is independent of the amount of data stored on the device.

If your device is encrypted, then the device image is also encrypted. AWS does not decrypt your device before importing the device image.

After the import operation completes, AWS Import/Export erases your device before shipping it.

You must submit a separate job request for each device.


You can send multiple devices in the same shipment. If you do, however, there are specific guidelines and limitations that govern what devices you can ship and how your devices must be packaged. If your shipment is not prepared and packed correctly, AWS Import/Export cannot process your jobs. Regardless of how many devices you ship at one time, you must submit a separate job request for each device. For complete details about packaging requirements when shipping multiple devices, see Shipping Multiple Devices.

For more information, see Guidelines and Limitations.

To create an Amazon EBS import job

  1. Create a manifest file.

  2. Prepare your device for shipping.

  3. Send a CreateJob request.

    AWS Import/Export sends a response and a PDF file with a barcode and job information.

  4. Attach the signature barcode to your device.

  5. Send a GetShippingLabel request.

  6. Ship your device.

In your request, you must identify an existing Amazon S3 bucket for logging. Your AWS account must own the bucket.


You can create a bucket using AWS S3 Console. For more information, see

These steps assume that you have signed up for an AWS account and created your file as described in the earlier tasks.

Create a Manifest File

The manifest file is a YAML-formatted text file that tells AWS how to handle your job. It consists of a set of name-value pairs that supply required information, such as your device ID, log bucket, and return address. For more information about YAML, see

The AWS Import/Export Web Service Tool provides three examples of manifest files that you can modify for your import and export jobs.

  1. Go to the Examples folder in the folder where you installed the AWS Import/Export Web Service Tool.

  2. Open the ebs-import-manifest.txt file in a text editor.

    manifestVersion: 3.0 deviceId:[Enter device serial number] pinCode: [Optional – PIN code] logPrefix: [Optional - a prefix for your log bucket] logBucket:[Your log bucket] generator: AWS Import/Export Command Line Tool eraseDevice:yes notificationEmail: [Email addresses, semicolon separated] returnAddress: name:[Your name] company:[Optional - your company] street1:[Your street] street2:[Optional - additional street info] street3:[Optional - additional street info] city:[Your city] stateOrProvince:[Required for USA and Canada. Your state or province.] postalCode:[Your postal code] country:[Your country] phoneNumber:[Contact number] operations: - destination: ebs-snapshot source: device region: us-east-1 | us-west-1 | us-west-2 | eu-west-1 | ap-southeast-1 deviceCapacityGreaterThan1TB: [yes|no]


    When shipping devices internationally except within the European Union you must include the customs option in the manifest. For more information about the customs-related manifest options, see Customs Manifest File Option.

  3. In the file, replace all text in brackets with the appropriate values. Delete any unused optional lines.

  4. Provide the name of the existing Amazon S3 bucket for logging. For the logBucket option, provide only the name of your bucket, for example s3examplebucket.

  5. For the eraseDevice field, specify yes to acknowledge that AWS will erase your device following the import operation before shipping it. If the eraseDevice field is missing or if the value is not yes, the job request will fail.

  6. For the notificationEmail field, enter one or more email addresses, separated by semicolons, so we can contact you if there are any problems. If the notificationEmail field is missing or empty, the job request will fail.

  7. The destination subfield in the operations option specifies that the data is imported into an Amazon EBS snapshot. Change the region parameter to specify the correct region.

  8. The deviceCapacityGreaterThan1TB subfield specifies if the device capacity is larger than 1 TB. AWS Import/Export supports Amazon EBS imports of 16 TB.

  9. Save the file as MyEBSImportManifest.txt in the same folder as your file.

For more information about manifest file options, see Manifest File Options Reference.

Prepare Your Device for Import

Next, you need to prepare your device for import.

  1. Optionally encrypt your data. For added security, we strongly recommend that you encrypt your data. If your device requires a PIN code for access, you must provide the PIN code to enable AWS to access the device. The entire device image is imported. AWS does not decrypt your device.

  2. Copy your data to the device. Do not ship the only copy of your data. AWS will erase your device, even if we cannot perform an import.

Send a CreateJob Request

Now that you have your credentials file and manifest file in place, you send a CreateJob request to AWS Import/Export.

You send a separate CreateJob request for each device.

  1. Open a command prompt (or, on a Mac, use the Terminal application), and change to the directory where you unzipped the AWS Import/Export tool.

  2. Enter the following CreateJob request on the command line.

    CmdPrompt>java -jar lib/AWSImportExportWebServiceTool-1.0.jar CreateJob Import MyEBSImportManifest.txt .

    The CreateJob request includes a directory name for where you want the shipping instructions PDF file saved. In this example, the closing period (.) at the end of the command refers to the current directory. Either include the period, as shown above, or replace it with a directory path.

If there is an error, AWS Import/Export returns an error message.

If there are no errors in the request, AWS Import/Export returns a JOB CREATED response. The following is a sample response.

JOB CREATED JobId: ABCDE JobType: Import Shipping instructions saved to C:\DirectoryName\.\shipping-instructions-ABCDE.pdf SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Open the Shipping Instructions file with a PDF reader. 2. Print out the Shipping Instructions which includes the AWS Shipping Address and Signature barcode. 3. Follow the directions in the PDF file, which includes cutting out and securely attaching the Signature barcode to your device. *IMPORTANT* - Failure to attach the Signature barcode to your device will prevent AWS from loading your data. This barcode can only be used with 1 device.

Your job expires after 30 days. If you do not send a device, there is no charge.

Attach the Signature Barcode

After the CreateJob request completes successfully, AWS Import/Export places the shipping instructions and a barcode as a PDF file in the directory you specified in the CreateJob request. AWS Import/Export also places a copy of the PDF file in the Amazon S3 bucket that you specified with the logBucket manifest option. The name of the PDF file is shipping-instructions-YOURJOBID.pdf where YOURJOBID is the name of the job for your request.

Print the PDF and attach the signature barcode securely to your device.

You must submit a separate job request for each device, and each job request generates a unique barcode. AWS Import/Export validates the barcode on your storage device before starting the data load. If the barcode is invalid (for example, it doesn't match your device), it's missing, or it's illegible, AWS Import/Export will not perform the data load and we will return your storage device.


Attach the signature barcode securely to your device, with tape on all four sides. Do not delete, alter, or obscure the signature barcode in any way. If the signature barcode is separated from your device, we cannot validate it and we will return your device without performing the data load.

Send a GetShippingLabel Request

Generate, print out, and attach your pre-paid shipping label through the AWS Import/Export Web Service Tool's GetShippingLabel action. For detailed instructions, see Generating Your Pre-Paid Shipping Label.

Ship Your Device

It is essential that you prepare your device properly before shipping.


If an error occurs during the CreateJob process, an error message will indicate the cause. You can then either get the shipping instructions from the Amazon S3 bucket, or you can retry the download using the GetShipInfo operation. For more information, see Getting Shipping Information.

  1. Attach the signature barcode securely to your device.

  2. Pack the power supply, power cable, and interface cables with your storage device. Without these, we can't transfer your data and will return your device.

  3. Generate, print out, and attach your pre-paid shipping label.

    For detailed instructions for preparing and shipping your device, see Shipping Your Storage Device.

  4. Arrange for UPS to pick up your package by calling them directly or take your package to a UPS package drop off facility to be shipped to AWS. You will not have to pay UPS for the shipping charges but AWS will add these charges to the fee charged for processing your device. If you are shipping internationally, see International Considerations for Mailing Your Storage Device.


Your job expires after 30 days. If you do not send a device, there is no charge. You are billed only after AWS Import/Export receives your device. If we receive your package after your job expires, we will return your device. You will only be charged for the shipping fees, if any.

If your device is not properly prepared for shipping and import, AWS might need to erase the device and return it without processing the request. If we are unable to erase the data on the device, we will schedule it for destruction and our support team will contact you using the email address specified in the manifest file. For more information, see Shipping Your Storage Device.

Now, you have explored the getting started steps of AWS Import/Export. To learn more about the product, see Where Do I Go from Here?.