AWS Import/Export is a data transport service used to move large amounts of data into and out of the Amazon Web Services public cloud using portable storage devices for transport. There are two versions of the service: AWS Import/Export Disk and AWS Snowball.
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AWS Import/Export Disk is a faster way to move large amounts of data to AWS compared to using an internet connection. AWS recommends an IT team use the service if there are 16 TB or less of data to import. The service also performs data backups or permanent data migrations to the AWS cloud.
An IT professional can use AWS Import/Export Disk to ship a storage device directly to AWS, which transfers data to a designated cloud location. An IT team specifies an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket, Amazon Glacier vault or Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) snapshot for import jobs. AWS typically processes data on the following business day and then returns the storage device to the sender. The service also enables a user to perform an export job from Amazon S3, but not from Amazon EBS or Glacier.
The service provides a command-line tool to create import and export jobs, and AWS software development kits enable a developer to use Java, .NET and PHP libraries to manage transfers. A developer can also use the REST API with the service.
A developer must complete a manifest file for import jobs that details the characteristics of each transfer, including storage location, notification information and device serial number.
AWS expanded its Import/Export service with the introduction of AWS Snowball, a data transport appliance that can transfer petabytes of information to the AWS cloud. The tamper-resistant and low-cost appliance offers fast data transfer times with a higher level of security. AWS owns and ships each Snowball device, which is available in 50 TB and 80 TB sizes.