Amazon Web Services (AWS): Data Transfer Options

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the market leader in providing infrastructure and applications for Cloud Based workloads.

One of the critical needs for cloud based deployments is data that resides in your data center or enterprise premises. This data needs to be transferred to AWS.

The following are the options available to you to transfer data from on premises to AWS cloud:

  • Direct Connect
  • S3 Upload (Internet Upload)
  • Snowball

Let us look deeper into each of these options.

Direct Connect

In this option, AWS provides you with a dedicated network connection between your data center or office and AWS.

The reasons you would go for Direct Connect are:

  • Lower bandwidth costs when you have large amounts of data
  • Consistent network speeds compared to regular internet
  • There are many direct connect centers close to the AWS regions.

If you do not reside close to the direct connect centers, then you can make use of AWS partners ( to get a dedicated network connection from your data center to the AWS center.

You get an option of either 1GB or 10GB uplink connectivity.

S3 Upload

AWS S3 provides a reliable and redundant object store for your applications.

The primary speed up in upload of S3 objects via the Internet is the Multipart upload. AWS S3 multipart upload intelligently breaks the objects into multiple parts and uploads them in parallel.

S3 Transfer Acceleration is a service that can help you transfer objects at a much faster rate to regions that are across continents. You will need to enable acceleration at the S3 bucket level and there is a change in URL for the upload location. Please see reference section below.

Snowball Transfer

Amazon provides rugged snowball machines that you can request (1 business day delivery by UPS).

Each snowball machine can either store 50TB or 80TB. They contain a Kindle for address and courier labeling. The machine has a TPM chip for storing sensitive information such as encryption metadata or pseudo keys or such. The data is encrypted with AES256.

The entire process takes about 7-10 days. Pricing is $200 for 50TB and $250 for 80TB. Shipping costs are extra and billed by UPS.