November 26th, 2018 by Michael Rink
Amazon Trials Compute Focused Snowball Variations
Amazon recently announced limited availability of two new versions of their Snowball Edge devices in select regions. In addition to AWS's existing storage optimized edge Snowball appliances they are adding the Snowball Edge Compute Optimized and Snowball Edge Compute Optimized with GPU.
The new compute device is a little bigger than the existing Snowball device sitting next to it in the image above. We covered the Snowball when it was first released three years ago in 2015. Briefly, Snowball is a petabyte-scale data transport appliance that Amazon will ship to you on demand. It is primarily intended to speed up the transfer of very large amounts of data in or out of AWS instances; potentially saving weeks of transfer time. Since it is intended to be shipped around, the enclosure is tamper resistant and the data encrypted by default.
Earlier this year AWS added support for EC2 Compute Instances, with six instance sizes and the ability to preload up to 10 AMIs onto each device. Now, AWS is trialing versions with even more computing power; the Snowball Edge Compute Optimized and Snowball Edge Compute Optimized with GPU. Both options include 42TB of S3-compatible storage where the Snowball Edge Storage Optimized has 100TB. Both also have 7.68 TB of NVMe SSD storage, and allow you to run any combination of instances that consume up to 52 vCPUs and 208GiB of memory. The Snowball Edge Compute Optimized with GPU includes an on-board GPU that you can use to do real-time full-motion video analysis & processing, machine learning inferencing, and other highly parallel compute-intensive work. You can launch an sbe-g instance to gain access to the GPU.
If the new versions are available in your region, you should be able to request them through the AWS management console the same way you would for the original version.
Immediatelyin a few select regions based on AWS pricing information.