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A sign for Amazon Web Services at a 2017 event in San Francisco. Photo: Bloomberg

AWS Could Use ‘Snowball’ Device as Foothold in Data Centers

Photo: A sign for Amazon Web Services at a 2017 event in San Francisco. Photo: Bloomberg

For years, Amazon Web Services has coaxed companies and organizations into moving their computing chores into big Amazon facilities known as “public” data centers. But in recognizing that many potential customers aren’t ready to do that, AWS is increasingly embracing one of the hottest trends in information technology: bringing the public cloud computing techniques it pioneered—managing computing, storage and networking for customers—to the private data centers that corporate clients already operate.

Last week, AWS took a step in that direction by announcing that EC2—a core part of AWS that lets clients rent virtual computers in the cloud—can run on Snowball Edge, a device for processing large amounts of data in branch offices and other remote locations with limited internet connectivity. After customers put data onto the device, they ship it to AWS to be uploaded to its cloud storage service. But the expansion of its capabilities is also transforming the device into a more general-purpose computer that could be used in private data centers.

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