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AWS Costs

AWS Snowball Pricing Simplified

How Is AWS Snowball Priced?

AWS Snowball is a service that ships a physical device to your data center, in order to transfer large volumes of data into and out of Amazon S3. The AWS Snowball device lets you ship up to 42 Terabytes of data.

AWS Snowball pricing is based on several elements:

  • Data transfer job fees—you can order an AWS Snowball “job”, which means Amazon delivers a Snowball device to your data center. Depending on the device used, fees are applied per job.

  • Commitment period—if you commit to using the Snowball device for a term of 1 or 3 years, you can pay a bulk sum up front and there are no charges per data transfer job.

  • Additional fees—Amazon charges for data transfer into S3 (transfers outside S3 are free). The regular charges apply for data operations in S3, and data storage in S3 for new data ingested from the Snowball device.

  • Shipping—Amazon charges regular carrier fees for shipping the Snowball device to and from your data center.

This is part of our series of articles about AWS costs.

In this article:

Amazon Snowball Pricing Concepts

There are two edge device options for AWS Snowball:

  • Compute-optimized devices—42TB object or block storage (compatible with Amazon S3); compute capacity of 52 virtual CPUs (vCPUs); GPU option for machine learning or advanced video analysis use cases.
  • Storage-optimized devices—80TB object or block storage; 40 vCPUs; support for large data transfers and local storage.

Both options are suitable for collecting and processing data, for machine learning in disconnected environments, and for shipping data back to AWS. They are useful for environments located in remote areas (e.g. naval or military) or that lack consistent connectivity (e.g. industrial or manufacturing). Snowball allows you to rack-mount devices and combines them to temporarily form large installations.

AWS Snowball pricing is based on the device type, usage, and timeframe. To choose the most cost-effective model, you must understand which device best suits your use case. For example, if you only require data transfer jobs, it is cheaper to use a storage-optimized device (although you could use either one).

If, however, you want to run compute jobs, a compute-optimized device may be the better option. If you’ve selected the compute-optimized device, there is an option to run GPU instances for edge applications.

AWS Snowball: Pricing Per Job and Per Day

Amazon charges for the Amazon Snowball device according to:

  • The number of data transfer jobs you order, either via the Snowball console or through the JMAPI API. Each data transfer job involves the shipment of the Snowball device to your organization and back to Amazon.
  • The number of days the device is deployed at your organization—not including shipping time, the day of arrival to your premises, the first 10 days of usage, or the day you ship the device back to Amazon.

In principle, if you can achieve the data transfer within 10 days of shipment, you should not pay the per-day fee.

The following is a summary of costs per job and per day in the Amazon US East region.

Type of Edge Snowball Device

Cost Per Data Transfer Job

Additional Cost Per Day (Beyond 10 Days)

Storage Optimized Device (data transfer only)



Storage Optimized Device (with EC2 instances)



Compute Optimized Device (with EC2 instances)



Compute Optimized GPU (with EC2 instances)



AWS Snowball: Upfront Commitment Options

If you expect to use Snowball for an extended period, you can pay its fees upfront and save up to 62% of the equivalent on-demand cost. This works as follows:

  • When you receive a Snowball device, you pay the upfront fee for a period of 1 or 3 years
  • There are no extra per-job or per-day fees during the commitment period.
  • Upfront commitment is only available for Snowball with EC2 compute instances (not for the data transfer only version).

The following is a summary of the costs for Snowball with the upfront commitment option, in the Amazon US East region.

Type of Snowball Device

Cost For 1 Year Commitment

Cost For 3 Year Commitment

Storage Optimized Device

(with EC2 instances)

($42 / day)


($35 / day)



Compute Optimized Device

(with EC2 instances)


($80 / day)


($55 / day)



Compute Optimized GPU

(with EC2 instances)


($105 / day)


($72 / day)

Data Transfer and Storage Pricing

When using Amazon Snowball, there is no special charge for transferring data into Amazon S3. However, you are charged extra for:

  • Data transfer outside Amazon S3—$0.03 per GB in the US East region when retrieving data from S3 to ship to your organization via Snowball.
  • S3 requests—regular charge for data requests made during import or export operations.
  • S3 storage—from the moment your data is transferred into Amazon S3, you are charged at regular storage rates.

Learn more in our detailed guides about:

Shipping and Loss Fees

Shipping fees
Amazon Snowball shipping charges are based on regular carrier rates, depending on shipping speed and your location.

Loss and damage fees
If you lose or damage an AWS Snowball device, or you fail to return it at Amazon’s request – you will be charged a loss fee, according to the type of Snowball device:

  • Storage Optimized Device - $12,500
  • Compute Optimized Device - $20,000
  • Compute Optimized with GPU - $30,000

Amazon Storage Optimization with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP capacity can scale into the petabytes, and it supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP assists with lift and shift cloud migration.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP also provides storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, data compression, and deduplication, reducing the storage footprint and costs by up to 70%.

Download our free eBook The NetApp Guide to Migrating Enterprise Workloads to the Cloud to learn more.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager