Friday Focus: Amazon Enters (Data) Shipping Market


Amazon has launched its own shipping container for data in the form of Snowmobile, a secure data truck that stores up to 100 petabytes of data.

A single petabyte of average MP3-encoded songs requires approximately 2000 years to play, so to transport such a data-intensive load, Amazon has built a ruggedized, tamper-resistant shipping container.

Snowmobile will transport the 45-feet long, 9.6 feet high, and eight feet wide water-proof, climate-controlled container to a customer’s existing data center. Each container includes GPS tracking, with cellular or satellite connectivity back to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Amazon will then arrange for a security vehicle escort when the Snowmobile is in transit and a customer can even order dedicated security guards for when the Snowmobile is on-premises.

Each Snowmobile consumes about 350 kW of AC power, so a generator can also be provided if there is not enough capacity on site.

It’s then just a matter of attaching the Snowmobile to a network. It appears as a local, network file system-mounted volume and each Snowmobile includes a network cable connected to a high-speed switch capable of supporting 1 Tb/second of data transfer spread across multiple 40 Gb/second connections.

Amazon claims that, if your existing network can transfer data at that rate, you can fill a Snowmobile in about 10 days.


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