Amazon’s Snowball snowballs as Google's clone gets real and IBM's comes to Europe

And now all four big clouds have a rugged FedExNet data upload option


IBM and Google have each announced a competitor for Amazon Web Services’s “Snowball”.

Amazon’s Snowball is a rugged box full of disk that it ships to users so they can fill it with tens of terabytes of data. Once full, the Snowball rolls all the way to an AWS bit barn where its contents are transferred into Amazon’s cloud rather faster than would be possible over the Internet.

Google introduced its own clone of the Snowball – the “Transfer Appliance” in August 2017 and earlier this week announced it’s generally available in the United States. The device ships in 100TB or 480TB versions, at US$300 and $1,800 respectively, plus shipping.

Amazon time-limits your use of a Snowball, but Google’s suggested you rack-mount the Transfer Appliance and use it until full, citing one user who deployed them aboard an oceanographic research ship and then sent it to the Chocolate Factory once the science cruise ended.

This kind of appliance appears to be a bus-like device: none for ages and then two at once, because IBM last week noted that its own Snowball clone, the Cloud Mass Data Migration service, has delivered on past promises to expand beyond the USA. The 120 TB device can now be yours to use for ten days if you hand over $474.50 within the EU.

Microsoft also has a Snowball clone in the form of the Azure Data Box.

And if all of those options aren’t enough, AWS also operates the “Snowmobile”, a truck full of storage for upload jobs too big for a mere Snowball. ®


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