AWS Import/Export
Developer Guide

What Is AWS Import/Export?

AWS Import/Export is a service that accelerates transferring large amounts of data into and out of AWS using physical storage appliances, bypassing the Internet. AWS Import/Export supports transfers data directly onto and off of storage devices you own using the Amazon high-speed internal network.

Overview of AWS Import/Export

AWS Import/Export accelerates transferring data between the AWS cloud and portable storage devices that you mail to us. AWS Import/Export is a good choice if you have 16 terabytes (TB) or less of data to import into Amazon Simple Storage Service or Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS). You can also export data from Amazon S3 with AWS Import/Export.

Your data load typically begins the next business day after your storage device arrives at AWS. After the data export or import completes, we return your storage device. For most data sets, AWS Import/Export can be significantly faster than Internet transfer and more cost-effective than upgrading your connectivity. AWS Import/Export does not support export from Amazon EBS.


This guide assumes that you are an Amazon S3 user or an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) user for Amazon EBS data. If that is not the case, see the Amazon S3 Getting Started Guide or Amazon EC2 Getting Started Guide for Amazon EBS data.

As an alternative, AWS Snowball (Snowball), is generally faster and cheaper to use than AWS Import/Export for importing data into Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). For more information on Snowball, see the AWS Snowball User Guide.

AWS Import/Export Functionality

Using AWS Import/Export provides the following functionality:

  • Migrate up to 16 TB of data per job into the AWS Cloud – Mail us one or more storage devices with your data on them. We load your data to the AWS cloud, and then return your storage device(s).

  • Content Distribution – We can export data from Amazon S3 onto one or more of your storage devices for delivery to your customers.

  • Direct Data Interchange – If you regularly receive content on portable storage devices from your business associates, you can have them send it directly to AWS for import into Amazon EBS or Amazon S3.

  • Off-Site Backup – Send full or incremental backups to Amazon S3 for reliable and redundant off-site storage.

  • Disaster Recovery – In the event you need to quickly retrieve a large backup stored in Amazon S3, use AWS Import/Export to transfer the data to a portable storage device and deliver it to your site.

Are you a first-time user of AWS Import/Export?

If you are a first-time user of the AWS Import/Export, these links will help you get started quickly.

Available Tools, Libraries, and Interfaces

AWS Import/Export provides a command line tool for creating import and export jobs, without writing any code. For applications requiring programming interface, AWS SDK provides Java, .NET and PHP libraries to create and manage import and export jobs. You can also optionally use the REST interface when working with AWS Import/Export.

There are also third party tools that support AWS Import/Export. For more information, go to


You are not charged for the time required to erase your device following an import, and you are not charged for the time required to decrypt or encrypt your device. For more information on pricing, see Pricing.

Return Shipping

Return shipping charges are dependent on the location of your AWS storage and your return shipping destination. Any applicable return shipping expenses will be charged once your package is ready for shipment to your return shipping address.