When it comes to cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the undisputed market leader. But for those customers that need to transfer petabytes or exabytes of data, the process can take years or even decades. Now, Amazon has come up with a solution for moving truckloads of information: an actual truck.

The Snowmobile can store up to 100 PB of data, allowing organizations to "move exabytes" of information to AWS within a timeframe measured in weeks rather than years. The truck follows the 80 TB AWS Snowball device Amazon introduced last year, which, while capable of transferring 1 PB per week to AWS, may not be sufficient for customers with large-scale on-premise storage.

Amazon introduced the Snowmobile at its annual re:Invent user conference in Las Vegas yesterday. The 45-foot long, 9.6-foot high, 8-foot long wide container is climate-controlled and waterproof, meaning it can be parked in covered or uncovered locations. It consumes about 350 kW of power, and Amazon says it will arrange for a generator if a customer requires one.

The Snowmobile can back up data at speeds of up to 1 Tb/s spread across multiple 40 Gb/s fiber connections. Firms with networks able to transfer data at that rate will be able to fill the truck in about 10 days, at which point it will be transported to an Amazon endpoint where the data is uploaded. AWS will provide security while the Snowmobile is on site, as well as an escort during transit. Customer data is encrypted, of course, and the container provides GPS tracking.

Company chief executive Andy Jassy said that sending an exabyte of data to an AWS center at a rate of 10 Gb/s would take 26 years, but using ten Snowmobiles would take six months.

The Snowmobile is aimed at customers in the scientific, media, and financial industries that may need to move large swathes of information. It attaches to a network as a local, NFS volume, and customers can use their existing backup and archiving tools to fill it with data, which will be stored using Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) or Amazon Glacier.

There’s no official price on how much a AWS Snowmobile will cost; Amazon said it would work with interested customers to ensure it “is both faster and less expensive than using a network-based data transfer model.”