Typical Use Cases
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This course explores how the AWS Snowcone service can be used to provide portable edge computing and data transfer. We'll cover the basics of the service, what it's used for, how to request one, and how to transfer data in and out of it. For any feedback relating to this course, please contact us at

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the basics of AWS Snowcone, its features, and its typical use cases
  • Learn how to request a Snowcone and transfer data with it

Intended Audience

  • Anyone looking to understand more about the AWS Snowcone and how it can be used to run operations at the edge in addition to providing data transfer capabilities both into and out of AWS.


To get the most out of this course, you should have an understanding and awareness of the Amazon S3 storage service in addition to a basic understanding of edge computing.


Let me start by highlighting when you would likely select the AWS Snowcone as your snow device of choice.

You would use the snowcone if you: 

  • Needed a portable lightweight device that you could easily carry to difficult to reach locations and environments to perform compute and storage operations
  • Only had a requirement for a maximum of 8TB of storage
  • If you needed the ability to perform online data transfer using AWS DataSync, preventing you the need to send the Snowcone back to AWS for an off-line data transfer
  • If you didn’t have a consistent power support and you needed the support of a battery pack.

When it comes to real-world use cases, here are a couple of examples where the Snowcone would perform well.

The snowcone is perfectly suited to provide a level of portable edge computing allowing you to collect data from wireless sensors or networked resources, for example in locations such as industrial warehouses or manufacturing plants, where you might need to collect environmental metric data.  By collecting and gathering data it can then be transferred to AWS offline, or it can be transferred online using AWS DataSync, which can then be analyzed at scale using other AWS services.

Due to its small size, it can even be stored in a standard backpack, or even fitted to a drone to capture and record image data! 

With storage capabilities of up to 8TB of usable HDD storage from a single snowcone, it easily allows you to provide a means of securely storing and transferring a large amount of data into AWS, and you can if required run multiple Snowcones in parallel allowing you to transfer 10’s of terabytes of data if required.  Being of rugged design and portable, the devices can be used in remote locations, such as mining and oil sectors, or even in the travel industry, fitted to trucks, trains, and boats, providing a mechanism of easily collecting data and then transferring it back to AWS.

Another common use case is from within the media and entertainment industry, the Snowcone can be used as a way to aggregate data from multiple sources before shipping it back to AWS for transfer into Amazon S3.  You might have video and audio data from multiple feeds, especially if you are working in the film or music industry, this data can then be aggregated to your snowcone device and shipped back to AWS for further processing and editing from your wider production team.


About the Author
Learning Paths

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.