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Amazon debuts compact, yet rugged AWS Snowcone edge computing device

Amazon has announced the general availability of the latest member of its ‘Snow’ family of edge computing devices, dubbed AWS Snowcone. 

AWS Snowcone is the smallest edge computing device in the AWS Snow family, and that’s by design. At under 2.5kg, it’s light enough to be picked up by a drone, while the 23cm x 15cm x 8cm dimensions means it’s compact enough to fit inside a standard US mailbox, or a small backpack. Meanwhile, the rugged design allows it to be transported safely without worrying about any data loss or damage to the device. 

AWS Snowcone meets stringent ruggedisation standards (it meets ISTA-3A, ASTM D4169, and MIL-STD-810G standards) for free-fall shock and operational vibration. The device is dust-tight and water resistant (it meets the IP65 International Protection Marking IEC standard). AWS Snowcone has a wide operating temperature range from freezing (0 degrees C/32 degrees F) to desert-like conditions (38 degrees C/100 degrees F), and withstands even harsher temperatures when in storage or being shipped (-32 degrees C/-25.6 degrees F to 63 degrees C/145.4 degrees F).

To make transporting the AWS Snowcone easier, Amazon equipped it with an E Ink shipping label. That doesn’t mean users are forced to ship it if they have a stable internet connection, however. The device also packs an Ethernet connection, as well as Wi-Fi for linking up with AWS DataSync. 

Amazon says that the AWS Snowcone is designed to operate in extreme environments or disconnected remote sites (including oil rigs, first responder vehicles, military operations, factory floors, remote offices, hospitals, or movie theaters) for long periods of time without traditional data centre conditions.

Like other AWS Snow family devices, all data on AWS Snowcone is encrypted using military grade 256-bit keys that customers can manage using the AWS Key Management Service (KMS). Additionally, AWS Snowcone contains anti-tamper and tamper-evident features to help ensure data on the device stays secure during transit. 

While Amazon notes that the AWS Snowcone is perfect for transporting data manually to a data centre, the device is more than capable of processing some of the data users want to collect locally. It packs two CPUs, 4GB of memory and 8TB of storage, while support for AWS IoT Greengrass gives it the ability to run Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances.

AWS Snowcone has a myriad of use cases, as it can be used as an IoT hub, data aggregation point, application monitor, or lightweight analytics engine – just to name a few. 

“Thousands of our customers have found AWS Snowball devices to be ideal for collecting data and running applications in remote and harsh environments. Since 2015, customer use of Snowball devices has greatly increased, as has their need for an even smaller device with even greater portability,” said Bill Vass, vice president of Storage, Automation and Management Services, AWS. 

“With more applications running at the edge for an expanding range of use cases, like analyzing IoT sensor data and machine learning inference, AWS Snowcone makes it easier to collect, store, pre-process, and transfer data from harsh environments with limited space to AWS for more intensive processing.”

AWS Snowcone is available in the US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) AWS Regions, with availability planned in additional AWS Regions in the coming months.

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