AWS fixes strange clunks in its on-prem data-crunchers

Snowball Edge devices needed annual recertification holidays and required LAN-based management


Amazon Web Services has made its Snowball Edge devices remotely manageable and finally enabled multi-year deployments of the on-prem data-crunching machines.

The devices pack a 3.2Ghz CPU, 80GB of RAM, and up to 80TB of storage, plus another lazy terabyte dedicated to running EC2 instances on the device. AWS suggests the devices are ideal for doing pre-processing of data out on the edge, rather than moving everything stored on the devices all the way to an Amazonian bit barn.

Hitherto, Snowball Edge devices could only be managed from the LAN to which they were connected. Replacements were also required every 360 days, because device certificates could not be updated remotely.

Yes, dear reader: AWS, the paragon of all things cloudy, offered only local access to a device designed to extend its cloud onto customers' premises and into the odd places where edge computing makes most sense. And those devices had to go back to the mothership every 360 days to have a teensy bit of code updated, or they'd brick.

Both oddities are fixed now.

AWS on Wednesday announced that Snowball devices can now be managed from AWS OpsHub or the AWS Command Line Interface – both cloudy services.

Snowball Edge certificates can now also be updated remotely.

AWS states its cloudy tools mean Snowball Edge devices can be used to manage "one or thousands of Snowball Edge devices, even when they are geographically dispersed." Remote cert update "enables customers to deploy Snowball Edge devices for multiple years," states the cloud giant's announcement.

Makers of vanilla servers aimed at the edge – such devices nearly always offer hybrid cloud connectivity and remote manageability – must have wondered how AWS brought Snowball Edge to market with such idiosyncrasies baked in.

Any such smirking probably needs to stop soon, because Snowball Edge looks a more fearsome competitor for buyers of edge compute. And for renters – for such is the Amazonian way. ®

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