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AWS rolls faster and more secure Snowballs

Identity and access management comes to movable edge

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revealed some significant upgrades to the storage-optimised Snowball Edge, its appliance for intended for use pre-processing data that’s too big and messy to send straight to the cloud.

The big one is a new identity and access management (IAM) regime that means security policies set for the AWS cloud can be applied to Snowball Edge devices. Come November 2, 2020, that regime will be compulsory whenever you use a Snowball. It’s now available as an option.

Another new tool is the “AWS OpsHub for Snow Family”, a GUI for managing Snowball Edge devices. “You can unlock devices and configure devices, use drag-and-drop operations to copy data, launch applications (EC2 AMIs), monitor device metrics, and automate routine operations,” AWS’ Jeff Barr enthused.

The storage-optimised Snowball Edge itself has been given an upgrade. A new processor runs at 3.2Ghz and can be carved up into 40 vCPUs, up from 24. RAM has gone from 48GB to 80GB. AWS is therefore confident you can run more and/or bigger VMs on the new box. There’s 80TB inside, plus a new 1 TB SATA SSD storage accessible to EC2 instances.

100 gigabit networking has come to the devices too, which will help to move data around at speed.

While Snowball devices pack enough punch to do some work on the edge and offer the same instance types that run in its hyperscale cloud, AWS suggests its its on-prem “Outposts” as its preferred hybrid cloud offering. It also offers “local zones” – smaller data centres – as its best bet for the latency-sensitive who want some resource without needing to schlep all the way to a bigger bit barn. ®

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