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AWS re:Invent 2015: Throwing a Snowball at the hardware market

Chris Player | Oct. 13, 2015
Hardware vendors are constantly moving into software and Cloud offerings but it is not often that a Cloud vendor will launch a hardware offering and that is exactly what AWS has done with Snowball.

AWS Storage Services vice president, Bill Vass, shows off Snowball during the second day keynote at re:Invent 2015
AWS Storage Services vice president, Bill Vass, shows off Snowball during the second day keynote at re:Invent 2015

Hardware vendors are constantly moving into software and Cloud offerings but it is not often that a Cloud vendor will launch a hardware offering and that is exactly what AWS has done with Snowball.

In truth, the data transfer offering is part hardware and part service. AWS Snowball is a petabyte-scale data transport appliance that can transfer 50TB per appliance of data into and out of AWS. The secure and tamper-free appliances are delivered to the customer, filled with data and then shipped back to AWS and put into the Cloud.

AWS Storage Services vice-president, Bill Vass, described the offering as an important tool for migrating customer data.

“As customers have realised that their data contains key insights that can lead to competitive advantage, they’re looking to get as much data into AWS as quickly as possible,” he said.

The Cloud provider said one of the big pain points for customers was the time it takes to upload large amounts of data.

While many in the AWS partner community are excited about Snowball, Australian partners still have the challenge of dealing with the delays in services being made locally available.

Australian marketing organisation, Global Red, has rebuilt it’s entire infrastructure on the AWS platform and is one of what the public Cloud providers calls its all-in technology partners.

Global Red chief information officer, Kartik Rao, said one of the challenges being an Australian business utilising AWS is the lead time for service delivery.

“Often times there are delays in some of the services arriving in our region,” he said.

“For example, last year I was here [at AWS re:Invent] last year and Lambda was announced. It was very exciting, we could see hundreds of applications for it. Unfortunately, Lambda is still not available in Sydney. Availability of key services is a challenge.

Bulletproof chief information officer, John Ferlito, echoed Rao’s sentiments and added delays are merely part and parcel of being on the other side of the world.

The Australian Cloud provider was one of the founding partners when AWS opened up a local shop in 2012. Bulletproof was the APAC region’s first premier partner, announced at re:Invent 2013. Ferlito told ARN that a few weeks ago the company was also named an AWS managed service provider partner (MSP) partner.

“Sometimes some of the new services that AWS announces will only be available in US East or US West, so they can take a while to get to Sydney,” Ferlito said. “There is also an issue that Sydney doesn’t have three availability zones so some of the products and services are difficult to get working.

 

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