AWS scoops Intel silicon and 8TB of storage into new Snowcone edge box

Shoebox-sized server is water-resistant and runs EC2 instances and Greengrass


AWS has added a new and very small member to its Snow family of temporarily-on-premises devices.

Snow devices are rented for a set number of days, because the expectation is they’ll be used to gather data or run some jobs somewhere you don’t always need an appliance. AWS offers a datacentre-on-a-truck Snowmobile for jobs like migrations and the 21.3kg Snowball to provide 50TB of storage in out-of-the-way places.

The new Snowcone is a mere 2.1kg, and at 227 mm x 148.6 mm x 82.65 mm, about the size of a shoebox – for kids’ shoes.

Inside you’ll find Intel x86 silicon with two usable vCPU cores, 8TB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. A pair of Ethernet ports figure out if they should move data at one or ten Gbps while 802.11ac and 802.11abgn mean gigabit WiFi is another I/O option. The device achieved the IP65 rating, so is dust-tight when its flaps are shut and can survive being hosed down, frozen, or used in very hot places.

AWS wouldn’t tell us which Intel chippery powers the device but the fact it is powered by USB-C – which can carry a maximum of 100 watts – suggests it is something that doesn’t need a lot of power. The cloud colossus has a fondness for Intel Xeons and something like the Xeon D-1602 which requires 27 watts could do the job. So could the 10th-gen Core i7-10875H, a laptop processor that sports eight cores, reaches 5.1GHz but can be dialed down to 35 watts.

All three of the processors we’ve mentioned above include Intel’s VT-x virtualisation extensions, which will aid execution for the EC2 instances that can run inside a Snowcone in the following three configurations:

  • snc1.micro (1 vCPU and 1 GB RAM)
  • snc1.small (1 vCPU and 2 GB RAM)
  • snc1.medium (2 vCPU and 4 GB RAM)

The device can also run the AWS Greengrass iOT service and sync to the AWS cloud.

The gizmo's light-ish weight means AWS has shown it off connected to a drone and siphoning data from it over a USB-C port dedicated to data ingress. For now you can only rent the device in the USA, where it costs $60 per hire and $6 a day. As is ever the case, AWS will propagate it to other regions over time. ®


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