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Amazon's Snowball is a smart box for shipping tons of cloud data

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It seems paradoxical that you'd have to ship cloud data, but plenty of companies do -- it's sometimes faster for them to send a courier than to wait days for a massive upload to finish. And Amazon knows it. The internet giant just revealed the Snowball, an odd but unassuming storage device that shuttles up to 50TB of data to Amazon Web Services the old-fashioned way. The box is not only tough enough to survive the bumps and jostles of a courier, but has everything it needs for power and networking. There's even an E Ink control panel on the side that doubles as an automatic shipping label.

You probably aren't going to use Snowball unless you're with a company that uses AWS, and it'll probably be a big company at that. That's doubly true when it'll cost $200 plus shipping every time you want to move terabytes of data across the country. You might notice its impact even if you never see it in person, though. You may spend less time waiting for your favorite cloud service to roll out updates, recover from outages and otherwise keep itself in top shape.

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