Amazon’s Snowball and Snowball Edge have both proven to be very capable in support to industries and government missions (see: Remarkable Engineering and Assessments Confirmed). Snowball was created to fill a critical gap and still helps organizations move large quantities of data securely to the cloud. Snowball Edge provided more features but also enabled users to conduct some simple pre-processing tasks on their data.
The evolution of these capabilities continues. Amazon has just announced even more functionality for Snowball Edge. Snowball Edge can now run Amazon EC2 instances, and multiple Snowball Edge devices can be connected to form local clusters centrally managed by an AWS console.
Now that Snowball Edge can run full-blown virtual machines it can run enterprise workloads over data in places where that could never be done before. Imagine running workloads you once had to have a cloud or private data center for, but now you can run them in environments where there is limited bandwidth. This can include field locations in support of industries like mining, oil/gas/energy, disaster response and scientific research. It can also include deployment of incredible cloud computing capabilities in support of military missions. The device is lightweight and is now an option for many airborne platforms including military UAVs as well as spacecraft. Shipborne use cases and use cases on submarines are now possible.
This new announcement should get your mind going with potential use cases. Some of the most interesting will include using the device to make smart decisions on what data to keep to move to the cloud and generate alerts and recommendations when certain criteria are met while data is being collected.
For more see: Snowball Edge. And for more on a one of many critical use cases, disaster response, see: Fast, Powerful and Practical: New Technology for Aerial Imagery in Disaster Response
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