AWS releases Snowcone, the latest in its lineup of rugged edge computing devices

Snowcone allows users to collect, process and move data to AWS from disconnected environments.

Amazon Web Services this week announced the general availability of Snowcone, the latest addition to its "Snow" family of edge computing and data transfer devices. Snowcone allows users to collect, process and move data to AWS from disconnected environments.

The device is designed for harsh or remote conditions that lack reliable network connectivity or other use cases that require portability, such as healthcare , transportation, logistics, and self-driving cars. 

Weighing in at 4.5 pounds, Snowcone is the smallest of the Snow device lineup and is also meant to work in conjunction with drones, Amazon said. 

Snowcone includes 2 CPUs, 4 GB of memory, wired or wireless access, and USB-C power using a cord or the optional battery. Amazon said the device offers enough compute power to launch EC2 instances and to run AWS Greengrass. Once loaded with data, the devices can be shipped to AWS for offline data transfer or linked up with DataSync for online data transfer.

"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, VP of storage, automation and management services for 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."

As processing moves from the cloud to devices, edge computing capabilities have become an increasingly important selling point for cloud providers. AWS has been expanding its offerings in this area for several years and late last year announced a collaboration with Verizon to bring 5G to edge computing. The company rolled out the Snowball Edge in 2016 for local processing in a variety of physical environments.