The Latest Technology in the Cloud? Semi-Trucks.
I recently attended the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, and it was one of the better experiences I've had at a conference. Full disclosure: I'm a bit of a technology nerd. I always look forward to seeing the latest hardware and software products from both major companies and independent start-ups. So, you can imagine my surprise at the Amazon Web Services conference when they rolled out the latest and greatest in data transfer technology: A semi-truck.
Introducing AWS Snowmobile
AWS Snowmobile addresses a common issue that many AWS customers are facing: they have enormous amounts of data in their data centers and lack any manner of getting that data from physical storage centers into AWS for proper cloud storage. In fact, AWS claims that they are starting to see customers with exabytes of data they'd like to move to the cloud, but lack the resources necessary to do so. Moving exabytes worth of data over a dedicated 10Gbps connection would take 26 years. With AWS Snowmobile, that process can be reduced to just 6 months.
Snowmobile executes the data transfer process with the utmost security. Utilizing 24/7 video monitoring, GPS tracking, and even the option of security vehicle to follow the semi-truck with your data loaded on it to its final destination.
Why Are Companies Moving to the Cloud?
Using semi-trucks to aid in transferring exabytes of data into the cloud may sound unorthodox, but it is an excellent visual for how desperate some companies are to move their business data into the cloud. Why? For more than a few reasons. First, AWS offers powerful data analysis tools to help companies obtain insight from their data faster and more accurately than if that data was compartmentalized in physical data centers. Secondly, maintaining physical data centers, and the electrical and cooling infrastructure associated with them, is really expensive for companies of all sizes. By reducing the size and reliance on these physical assets, companies can lower costs and become more flexible in how they store and access their business data.
The trend of moving data, applications, and other business assets to the cloud is only increasing going forward. The question, it seems, is not when companies will move their data to the cloud, but how quickly and efficiently can cloud vendors get clients' data into the cloud. For now, AWS Snowmobile aims to do this in six months or less, one 100 peta-byte semi-truck load at a time.