The Snowmobile truck making an entrance to Hall B, Sands Expo, Las Vegas

The Snowmobile truck making an entrance to Hall B, Sands Expo, Las Vegas

On the second day of Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent 2016, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced the launching of several new products and services including Snowmobile, a container truck meant to transport customers’ exabyte-scale data.

The service is able to transport up to 100PB per Snowmobile. With the truck, customers will only need to take six months to transport such huge amount of data, which originally may take approximately 26 years with a 10 Gbps dedicated connection. The service is already available with several AWS customers reportedly having used the service.

The Snowmobile service comes with multiple layers of security designed to protect data including dedicated security personnel, GPS tracking, alarm monitoring, 24/7 video surveillance, and an optional escort security vehicle while in transit.

Jassy cited the company’s own petabyte-scale data transport device Snowball as inspiration of the product.

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“People loved Snowball, and are using Snowball to a very substantial extend. They are really interested in bigger capacity, and they really want to be able to not copy their data, while keeping some capabilities inside their device. Snowball Edge is coming for private data, and while many are excited … it will take tens of thousands of Snowballs to fulfill their needs. It really isn’t realistic, so we began to look at a much bigger construct. There are plenty of iteration of that idea until we get into the Snowmobile that we just launched,” Jassy explained.

For Snowball itself, the company also announced the launch its latest version Snowball Edge which features greater storage capacity and more complete functionality.

Welcoming the AIs

Jassy also used the opportunity to introduce Amazon AI, the company’s new artificial intelligence products that consist of Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Polly, and Amazon LEX.

Amazon Rekognition is an image-recognition service while Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech deep learning service. As for Amazon LEX, Jassy described it as the “inside of Alexa” or the natural language understanding that fuels the Alexa platform and related Echo devices.

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During the following press conference, when asked about how AWS is going to compete with free image recognition services, Jassy stated that the company is aware of the different services available in the market.

“We’ve built plenty of capabilities in the service that aren’t readily available in the market, and it is also a fully-managed service. In a lot of things that you can use for free, there is a lot of heavy-lifting and managing and building,” he explained.

Upcoming growth

Jassy claimed in his speech that this year AWS managed to reach around US$13 billion revenue run rate, with “millions” of users going on-board every month.

How is protectionism — as proposed by US President-elect Donald Trump — going to affect cloud computing business?

“I don’t see the global business for AWS or cloud computing will be any different today than it did months ago. Virtually, every company in the world is going to move their data centre to the cloud. The economy is just so compelling that it is going to happen. What that means, is that, the right services, security, operation performance, the right cost structure to allow themselves the same access to the breadth, the scalability, and the infrastructure as all the other companies they are competing with,” Jassy explained.

“Big companies are competing on a multnational basis, which I think will continue to happen,” he concludes.

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The AWS re:Invent event itself reportedly had around 32,000 attendees, with an additional 50,000 watching through livestreaming.


Image Credit: AWS