I’ve been following Amazon re:invent event last week. One of the largest Amazon events is totally focused on Amazon Web Services (AWS) business. Amazon presented few interesting news services. Znet article here gives you a skimmed review of what was presented. It is all about data – how to migrate databases, import data from outside, stream and visualize data.
Although all of these services are very interesting, the following one was outstanding and caught my special attention – AWS Snowball. In a nutshell, Snowball is an appliance that used by Amazon to ship data from customer side to Amazon data center. The data will be delivered in a physical ball via FedEx to Amazon data center in Oregon (the support for other data centers is under way). The following TechCrunch article gives you more explanations.
The following passage gives you the story:
The appliance is a bit larger than an old-school desktop case and it can hold up to 50 terabytes of data. It has a Kindle on the side, which functions as an automatic shipping label.
Amazon says the case can withstand a 6 G jolt and is entirely self-contained, with a 110-volt power supply and 10 GB network connection built-in.
Every import/export job will cost developers $200. The first 10 days of onsite usage are free, each extra day on site will cost developers $15 days. Amazon won’t charge for importing the data from Snowball into S3, but it will charge $0.03 per GB for export.
After the user sets up a Snowball job on AWS, Amazon will ship them a Snowball appliance. They then import their data into the appliance and ship it back to Amazon, with the built-in Kindle functioning as the shipping label.
It made me think about an interesting scenario that might be relevant for manufacturing companies of all sizes. Many of these companies are checking their options to move into cloud-based environment at least for some specific user scenarios. Practical examples that can come to my mind is service and sales, supply chain, etc. Engineering documents is a vital part to support these scenarios and provide a quality data. Today it is locked somewhere on company file servers. To get information from there is complex and sometimes not efficient. It would be much easier to pull all design and related data on AWS Snowball, bring it to data center. Then data can be analyzed, visualized and organized for future use.
What is my conclusion? Manufacturing companies accumulated huge amount of data related to engineering, design and operation that can be useful to optimize their decision making and services. Cloud technologies can help to crunch this data and make it available for customers. To have relevant specification or drawing available for service technician located on customer site via mobile device can save a lot of money. I’m sure there are more examples. But, the information is locked in old fashioned vaults or just computers under engineers’ desks. To bring this data to life can be a big deal. Just my thoughts…