Need a small but rugged edge computing device that can also double as a data storage and data transfer unit? Amazon may have the solution: AWS Snowcone.
AWS Snowcone is the newest and smallest offering in Amazon’s Snow family of physical devices that run applications and collect and process data at the edge. The data can be moved into and out of the AWS cloud either by physically sending the device to Amazon or by using high-speed online transfer.
The device is small — it weighs only 4.5 pounds and has a dimension of 9-inches x 6-inches x 3-inches. It runs on either AC power or an optional battery. It is designed for edge computing purposes — especially in rugged or inhospitable terrains where there is no network connectivity — or it can be used for data migration and storage in the datacenter. It can also be employed in autonomous vehicles or for IoT purposes. And because it is lightweight, it can even be used with drones.
Amazon notes that edge computing locations “often lack the space, power, and cooling needed for datacenter IT equipment to run applications,” but AWS Snowcone will run “edge computing workloads with select Amazon EC2 instances or AWS IoT Greengrass.” Snowcone has two CPUs, 4GB of memory, and 8TB of usable storage. AWS says the device’s sturdy enclosure makes it tamper-resistant, so it is perfect for “rugged or disconnected environments.” Data in transit and data at rest are automatically encrypted.
After using Snowcone to run applications at the edge to collect and process data locally, customers can get the data uploaded to the cloud by shipping the device to AWS. Snowcone comes with an E Ink shipping label (basically a Kindle-like screen) so the device is automatically sent to the right AWS facility for processing. Data can also be transferred online using AWS DataSync.
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