This hard drive could hold the data for everyone in your neighborhood and still not be full.

You know that USB stick in your bag for transferring pictures and documents between home and work? Amazon now has a version of that little hard drive so large that it takes a semi truck to move the storage device. The rig can haul 100 petabytes (equal to 100,000 terabytes) in a specially designed shipping-container-sized housing.

While it initially seems odd to move digital data by truck, Amazon says the Snowmobile is for clients with extreme needs for cloud storage, like film vaults, satellite imagery, or scientific data. At current speeds, transferring these massive files via an Internet connection could take years.

The Snowmobile is an extension of Amazon’s AWS Snowball service that allows clients to transfer a petabyte (1,000 terabytes) per week to the cloud. While this is plenty for most users, there are extreme cases where companies have many exabytes (1,000,000 terabytes) of data that requires off-site storage.

Amazon drives the truck (or trucks, clients can order more than one) to a business, and the hard drive attaches to the firm’s local network. Companies can then use their current backup and archiving tools for transferring the data. At speeds of one terabyte per second going into the Snowmobile, Amazon estimates that most firms would take around 10 days to fill up the massive storage device.

Amazon then takes the 45-foot (13.7-meter) long, 9.6-foot (2.93-meter) high container and moves the files to its Amazon Web Services cloud computing system. The drive is water-proof, climate-controlled, and GPS-tracked. A security vehicle also escorts the Snowmobile during transit.

Amazon Snowmobile

Amazon isn’t releasing pricing for using the Snowmobile service, but according to the company’s announcement, “we intend to make sure that Snowmobile is both faster and less expensive than using a network-based data transfer model.” Plus, the first five customers also get Lego scale models of the truck from Amazon Web Services Chief Evangelist Jeff Bar.

Source: Amazon

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