Many U.S. companies utilize cloud-based storage and other cloud computing services to store vast amounts of data on virtual networks. Although cloud-based storage isn’t new to U.S. companies and consumers, there are efforts to speed up data transfers between physical data storage centers and cloud services. When companies need to upload exabytes of data, simple web-based uploads may take eons in corporate time.
This is where Amazon.com Inc. comes into play. Instead of trying to increase the speed of online data transfers, Amazon has introduced an innovative yet simplistic way to solve the problem: upload a company’s data to a physical server, then transport and eventually upload the company data on that server to the Amazon cloud server.
Amazon’s Snowmobile is an actual tractor-trailer that will come to any company—be it a hospital, manufacturer or consumer-facing company—and connect with their data center through a fiber optic connection. From there, all the company has to do is fill up the Snowmobile truck with data and wait for it to be transferred to the Amazon Web Services’ servers.
The product isn’t aimed at small businesses or consumers who simply need to upload recent photos of award-winning baked goods or adorable cats. Snowmobile is made for companies that need to upload data up to 100 petabytes to cloud based services. With the cost of Snowmobile storage at $.005 per gigabyte per month, the cost of Snowmobile storage could get pricy—100 petabytes is roughly 100,000,000 gigabytes.
With the hefty price tag, however, comes robust encryption and security services that will attempt to protect against digital and physical criminals who wish to steal the precious cargo. To protect the data, Amazon is offering “dedicated security personnel, GPS tracking, alarm monitoring, 24/7 video surveillance and an optional escort security vehicle while in transit,” the company’s website said.
Hopefully Amazon has also thought about securing the trucks themselves. Researchers recently said that trucks, much like the ones Amazon would use, are prone to the same kind of hacking attacks that have disabled some connected cars. The researchers showed that there is a real possibility of “safety critical attacks that include the ability to accelerate a truck in motion, disable the driver's ability to accelerate and disable the vehicle's engine brake.”
Amazon’s Snowmobile is a data transfer method that has many asking to go back to the future. But, this time we are going to need roads.
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