If You Want to Back Up Your Entire Film, Amazon's 50TB 'Snowball' Might Do the Trick

Even though this thing won't be winning any beauty pageants, it will be able to handle massive amounts of data.

There's nothing more terrifying than losing data, namely footage of a film you painstakingly shot. (I'm a survivor myself -- I lost half of a film once.) This is why we take protective measures to ensure this doesn't happen to us. However, the process of backing up your data to the cloud is a long one, and if you're trying to move a lot of it in a short amount of time, Amazon might have something that can help.

It's called Snowball, and it quickly, inexpensively, and securely transfers large amounts of data into and out of AWS. It's big, rugged, and ugly as hell, but it's tamper and weather-resistant, stores up to 50TB, and can withstand a 6 G jolt.

Here's what Amazon had to say about their storage device on their blog:

The new Snowball appliance is purpose-built for efficient data storage and transfer. It is rugged enough to withstand a 6 G jolt, and (at 50 lbs) light enough for one person to carry. It is entirely self-contained, with 110 Volt power and a 10 GB network connection on the back and an E Ink display/control panel on the front. It is weather-resistant and serves as its own shipping container; it can go from your mail room to your data center and back again with no packing or unpacking hassle to slow things down. In addition to being physically rugged and tamper-resistant, AWS Snowball detects tampering attempts.

So, how does this thing work? Basically, you rent a Snowball from Amazon for $200 (they don't make them available to purchase), load it up with your data, then send it back to them to be ingested. (All that back and forth -- now you understand why Amazon chose functionality over aesthetics.) The Snowball is even its own shipping container -- no need for packaging. In fact, you can literally just hand it over to whichever shipping service you're using. The ingestion takes no more than a day. (Yeah -- a day.)

Professionals from all types of industries will find this thing useful, but filmmakers will especially appreciate being able to back up -- essentially their entire film -- in a single day. And for a reasonable price.      

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This is pretty darn cheap and pretty revolutionary

October 18, 2015 at 3:49PM

Miida Chu
independent filmmaker

I wonder what the monthly bill is for keeping that data in the cloud?

October 18, 2015 at 4:05PM


Exactly what they will do. I hate how many cloud solution workflow never explain to you about the costly storage that is needed. I'm going to rent this out and use it to backup to my own server, for archiving it doesn't seem to be the best solution I can see bigger studios integrating with their Amazon cloud storage they have already. I wonder if the 10gb connection works on every computer or does it need a special hardware or software to achieve the high speed transfer.
Anyone else have experience with cloud workflow for film or TV production would be very curious to learn some experiences.

October 18, 2015 at 5:38PM

Serril media
Post production services and consulting

~meant to reply to other post~

October 18, 2015 at 7:45PM, Edited October 18, 7:56PM


It will most likely work with any 10gbe connection. Don't expect 10gb/s a standard 1gb ethernet. You can get a 10gbe pci card for about $300 and a cat 6 cable for ~$15.

If you want some interesting workflow videos check out LinusTechTips. He mainly covers computer tech but recently made a few videos about building a server and 10gbe network for his company ~8 employees, most of whom edit.

October 18, 2015 at 7:56PM


You consult on post production and you need to ask wether 10gb works on 'every' computer? I don't even know where to begin on that comment. Also, this is a third party ARTICLE about an Amazon product, not an Amazon rate card. There is nothing shady or hidden about their costs. When you say you hate how cloud services never explain to you the costly storage that is needed, I don't see how it's an indictment of cloud storage because an article on NFS doesn't mention costs. Just go to AWS and get the costs. Maybe you can report back to us on the 'costly' cloud storage and what it's terrestrial counterparts offer in terms of value. Spoiler alert, AWS is cheaper than LTO in many instances.

October 20, 2015 at 9:42AM, Edited October 20, 9:42AM


Maybe there are other options I didn't find...but according to this page, $0.03/GB per month. So your 50TB storage would be $1500. :o


October 18, 2015 at 8:42PM

Story Teller

50 Terabytes is the size of the drive, but VERY few people would fill this. If you are shooting something that necessitates 50 TB of storage, the $1500 a month will be on the lower end of your line items.

October 18, 2015 at 8:50PM, Edited October 18, 8:50PM

Joshua Bowen

Depends on what storage class you're using. If it's a backup then you most likely want Glacier which starts at $0.007 per GB.

October 19, 2015 at 12:24PM, Edited October 19, 12:27PM


50lbs 'light enough for one person to carry', LOL
It is on the edge on what is medically adviced to carry in optimal conditions (meaning: if you carry it in right on front of your lower belly).

Besides that: impressive data container.

October 19, 2015 at 1:46AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

there are much cheaper archive solutions out there than storing on AWS. AWS is for cloud computing, not storage.

I'd rather get two identical raid 6 systems of 24TB. Copy the data and ship it to a friend. Then use BitTorrent sync to keep them in sync. Now you have an off site backup with the only monthly cost of power.

October 19, 2015 at 8:26AM

Thomas Koch

AWS is for cloud computing and not storage? You might want to let AWS know that. They've gotten a massive enterprise storage branch of AWS that would probably be interested in your facts.

October 20, 2015 at 9:50AM


I think NOT

October 29, 2015 at 6:39AM