With a slightly more enterprise-solution twist, Amazon has announced a new 50-terabyte "Snowball" drive that ships itself to your address, gives you ten days to load it with as much data as you can, and then gets picked up by UPS to transfer the data back to Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud storage — all for $200 per job. The process works in reverse, too; so, you can import or export a job between any AWS product more quickly and at less cost than alternatives.
Some of you must be thinking: "How does this help me?" That makes perfect sense and it just might not. But many photographers, videographers, and other artists have petabytes (millions of gigabytes) of data to backup and potentially transfer. Those same artists also often have many terabytes of data per project, as they're working on sets that produce massive amounts of footage (think 3D, 4K, high frame rate, etc.). In each of these scenarios, the newly announced AWS Import/Export Snowball allows these users to back up petabytes of data across even more than one Snowball in a matter of days instead of literally years.
That last part is key: Snowball is scalable and can be used in parallel with multiple devices to create larger bandwidths both on and offsite at AWS headquarters. So, 20 Snowballs (each with a 10Gb connection) could transfer via the equivalent of a 200Gb connection. That's huge for high-volume shooters of any kind. And for the rest of us, once we get to dozens of terabytes, we now have an affordable solution to transfer large amounts of data in very little time.
The entire process can be likened to a power-user version of CrashPlan's Restore-to-Door program, which will send you your already backed up data on a hard drive, although CrashPlan charges $299.99 for this service and it's limited to a measly 3.5TB. Moreover, the AWS Import/Export Snowball allows you to work in the other direction to seed your online backup more quickly from your original files. And any one job with the Snowball costs just $200 plus shipping. That's not too shabby for a first attempt at this kind of service.