AWS is Amazon Web Services which is Amazon’s cloud services for IT and is the largest cloud provider.

The cloud is where you can store information and data not on your premises but in large computer warehouses somewhere and you can also have the computers that are doing the work, so you do not need servers or storage in your facility.

AWS has chosen to name some of their products with unusual names that are logical names for the products. Some of these winter-oriented names are Snowmobile, Snowball, S3 Glacier and Snowcone. You can all picture these as real names that we refer to winter-type objects.

Snowmobile is a way that AWS offers to organizations that have huge amounts of data to move when they shift from on-premises storage to cloud storage at AWS. This storage could be more than data files but programs, etc. also. Instead of taking forever (and huge costs) to move the data across the Internet, AWS brings a six-wheeler truck to your location with lots of storage devices on it and you connect your devices to it and move the data. Then the truck goes back to AWS and offloads the data onto their equipment. The data is not usable while being moved so sort of cold storage and it is a vehicle moving it, so snow mobile is appropriate. This is used when you have exabytes of data.

Snowball is the same type concept but without the truck and only petabytes of data. AWS sends you a container (maybe about the size of the large coffee dispensers used at catered events, etc., and you download data to it, then you ship to AWS (UPS, FedEx, etc.) and they download at AWS.

S3 Glacier is where you store data for a long time. S3 is what Amazon calls their data storage product and Glacier is for storing data for long time that is hardly ever touched. Items like backups. They charge less for this storage. It is like a glacier in that you have basically long-term frozen things in it to not change, just like in real glaciers they find things frozen thousands or years ago and longer and still in like new shape.

Snowcone is a new and different one. Instead of using regular shipping services, the amount of data put on it and transferred uses a drone. It is used for transferring up to 8terabyes of data and the device is delivered and picked up by a drone by AWS.

They are all interesting and unusual names but help explain also how the cloud functions.

Dwight Watt does computer work for businesses, individuals and organizations and teaches about computers at a college in Northwest Georgia. His website is His email address is

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