AWS Import/Export
Developer Guide

Creating Amazon EBS Import Jobs

AWS Import/Export uploads your device to Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) snapshots. Amazon EBS snapshots can be converted into volumes for use with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

If you are using AWS Import/Export to upload data to Amazon EBS, we assume you are an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) user and are familiar with the Amazon EBS concepts volumes and snapshots. To learn more about Amazon EBS, go to Amazon Elastic Block Store.

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

You must submit a separate job request for each device.

For more information, see Guidelines and Limitations

Import to Amazon EBS Process

Import to Amazon EBS Process

1 You copy your data to your storage device. Do not send the only copy of your data. AWS will erase your device. For added security, we strongly recommend using encryption. AWS does not decrypt your data.
2 You create an that contains the accessKeyId and secretKey associated with your AWS account. For more information, see Save Your Credentials to a File.
3 You create an import manifest file that specifies the operation, Amazon EBS, the region, and return shipping address. For more information, see Import to Amazon EBS Manifest File Options.

You initiate an import job by sending a CreateJob request that includes the manifest file. You must submit a separate job request for each device.

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

You can send a CreateJob request using the AWS Import/Export Tool, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), the AWS SDK for Java, or the AWS REST API. The easiest method is the AWS Import/Export Tool. For details, see

Sending a CreateJob Request Using the AWS Import/Export Web Service Tool

Sending a CreateJob Request Using the AWS SDK for Java

Sending a CreateJob Request Using the REST API


AWS Import/Export sends a response that includes a job ID, shipping instructions, a PDF file, and a link to generate a pre-paid shipping label.

The PDF file contains job information, shipping instructions, and a barcode.

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.


You print the PDF. For an example of the PDF, see The Import PDF File.

You cut out the barcode portion of the printed PDF, and tape it to your device. You must send the device using the pre-paid shipping label. See Shipping Your Storage Device for information on how to print your label.


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.


You ship the device, the cables, and the printed bar code to AWS. Otherwise, your device might be returned unprocessed.


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.


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.


AWS Import/Export uses the bar code to identify and authenticate your data load.

Once your storage device arrives at AWS, your data load typically begins by the end of the next business day. The time line for loading your data depends on a number of factors, including the availability of an import station, the amount of data to load, and the data transfer rate of your device.

AWS displays your Amazon EBS snapshot in the list of EBS Snapshots for your account within the AWS Management Console for Amazon EC2. For instructions to find your snapshots in the Amazon EC2 Console, see Your Amazon EBS Snapshot in the AWS Management Console.

9 Following the import operation, AWS will erase the device, even if the import was not successful. In cases where we are unable to erase the data on the device, we will schedule it for destruction. In this case, our support teams will contact you over the email address specified in the Manifest file.
10 We repack your storage device and ship it to the return address you provided in your manifest file. We do not ship to post office boxes.

The Import PDF File

The AWS response to the CreateJob request includes your job ID, AWS shipping address, and saves a PDF file to your computer. The PDF file contains shipping instructions with a unique bar code to identify and authenticate your device. Following is an example PDF file.

          Example PDF for an import to Amazon EBS job.

As noted in Import to Amazon EBS Process, you must print the PDF, tape the bar code to your device, and follow the shipping instructions on the page.

Your Amazon EBS Snapshot in the AWS Management Console

You can monitor the status of your Amazon EBS import job in the AWS Management Console. Once your data begins importing to an Amazon EBS snapshot, you can find the Snapshot ID and its status in the AWS Management Console for Amazon EC2.

To find your Amazon EBS Snapshot

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at

  2. Select Snapshots in the left side Navigation pane.

    The EBS Snapshots pane appears.

          Example of EBS Snapshots in the AWS Management Console for Amazon EC2.

The Description field includes the job ID provided by AWS Import/Export as a response to your CreateJob request.