Using Amazon EC2-compatible compute instances - AWS Snowcone User Guide

Using Amazon EC2-compatible compute instances

In this topic, you can find an overview of using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) compute instances on an AWS Snowcone device. The topic includes conceptual information, procedures, and examples.


These features are not supported in the Asia Pacific (Mumbai) AWS Region.


You can run Amazon EC2-compatible compute instances hosted on a Snowcone using the supported EC2-compatible instance types. Like their cloud-based counterparts, these instances require Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to launch. You choose the AMI to be that base image for an instance in the cloud before you create your Snowcone job. For information about supported instance types, see Using Amazon EC2 on Snowcone .

If the job type is local compute, you might create a total of 8 TiB local EBS volumes and attach them to Amazon EC2-compatible instances. This allows local EC2-compatible instances to access more local capacity than the root volume alone. This is local storage only, so data written to the EBS volumes is lost when the device is returned to AWS because it can't be imported into Amazon S3.


The NFS server is not available for compute jobs. If you need to import or export data to or from the AWS Cloud, don't choose the local compute job type when you place your order.

To use a compute instance on a Snowcone, create a job and specify your AMIs. You can do this from the AWS Snow Family Management Console, with the AWS CLI, or with one of the AWS SDKs. Typically, you must perform some housekeeping prerequisites before creating your job to use your instances.

After your device arrives, you can start managing your AMIs and instances. You can manage your compute instances on a Snowcone through an Amazon EC2–compatible endpoint. This type of endpoint supports many of the Amazon EC2 CLI commands and actions for the AWS SDKs. You use the AWS OpsHub for Snow Family tool to manage your AMIs, compute instances, and AWS services. For more information, see Using AWS OpsHub for Snow Family to Manage Devices.

When you're done with your device, return it to AWS. If the device was used in an import job, the data transferred through the NFS file interface is imported into Amazon S3. Otherwise, we perform a complete erasure of the device when it is returned to AWS. This erasure follows the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-88 standards.

  • Using encrypted AMIs on Snowcone devices is not supported.

  • Data in compute instances running on a Snowcone isn't imported into AWS.

Pricing for Compute Instances on Snowcone

There are additional costs associated with using compute instances. For more information, see AWS Snowcone pricing.


Before creating your job, keep the following information in mind:

  • Before you can add any AMIs to your job, you must have an AMI in your AWS account, and it must be a supported image type. Currently, supported AMIs are based on the Amazon Linux 2, CentOS 7 (x86_64) - with Updates HVM, or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS - Xenial (HVM), Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - Focal, or Ubuntu 22.04 LTS - Jammy images. You can get these images from the AWS Marketplace.


    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS - Xenial (HVM) images are no longer supported in the AWS Marketplace, but still supported for use on Snowball Edge devices through Amazon EC2 VM Import/Export and running locally in AMIs.

    Before you add any AMIs to your job creation request, make sure that you have one or more supported AMIs in your AWS account.

  • All AMIs must be based on Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), with a single volume.

  • If you are planning connecting to a compute instance running on a Snowcone, you must use Secure Shell (SSH). To do so, you first add the key pair.