AWS updates Snowball edge devices with refreshed hardware, new services

In addition to refreshed Snowball Edge devices, AWS is introducing a new Snowball management platform, new IAM capabilities and support for task automation.

Amazon Web Services on Thursday announced updates to its "Snow" family of edge computing and data transfer devices, including refreshed hardware and some new services. In addition to refreshed Snowball Edge devices, AWS is introducing a new Snowball management platform, new Identity and Access Management capabilities and support for task automation.

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. 

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With the update on Thursday, Snowball Edge devices offer 25 percent faster data transfer speeds, more than twice the processing power, more memory, more vCPUs, and they support 100 Gb networking. 

The new Snowballl Edge Storage Optimized devices feature 40 vCPUs and 80 Gb of memory, up from 24 and 48, respectively. The processor now runs at 3.2 GHz, allowing users to launch more powerful EC2 instances. In addition to the 80 Tb of storage for data processing and data transfer workloads, there's now 1 Tb of SATA SSD storage that is accessible to the EC2 instances launched on the device. Users can cluster up to 12 Storage Optimized devices together to create a single S3-compatible bucket that can store nearly 1 petabyte of data. 

AWS is also rolling out the AWS OpsHub for Snow devices. It offers a simple graphical user interface for managing Snowball Edge devices. Previously, AWS customers used command line management on Snowballs. With the OpsHub, users can unlock and configure devices. They can use drag-and-drop operations to copy data, launch applications , monitor device metrics and automate routine operations.

Once it's downloaded and installed on a Windows or Mac, OpsHub can work without an internet connection, which should be helpful for mobile or disconnected modes or high-security environments. 

Next, AWS is offering AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) support for all devices ordered on or after Thursday. User-based IAM policies can help customers control access to services and resources running on Snowball Edge devices. 

Lastly, customers can now use AWS Systems Manager to automate common maintenance and deployment tasks  on instances and other resources on Snowball Edge devices.