S3 Transfer Acceleration vs Direct Connect vs VPN vs Snowball vs Snowmobile

s3 transfer acceleration

s3 transfer acceleration


S3 Transfer Acceleration (TA)

  • Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration makes public Internet transfers to S3 faster, as it leverages Amazon CloudFront’s globally distributed AWS Edge Locations.
  • There is no guarantee that you will experience increased transfer speeds. If S3 Transfer Acceleration is not likely to be faster than a regular S3 transfer of the same object to the same destination AWS Region, AWS will not charge for the use of S3 TA for that transfer.
  • This is not the best transfer service to use if transfer disruption is not tolerable.
  • S3 TA provides the same security benefits as regular transfers to Amazon S3. This service also supports multi-part upload.
  • S3 TA vs AWS Snow*
    • The AWS Snow* Migration Services are ideal for moving large batches of data at once. In general, if it will take more than a week to transfer over the Internet, or there are recurring transfer jobs and there is more than 25Mbps of available bandwidth, S3 Transfer Acceleration is a good option.
    • Another option is to use AWS Snowball or Snowmobile to perform initial heavy lift moves and then transfer incremental ongoing changes with S3 Transfer Acceleration.
  • S3 TA vs Direct Connect
    • AWS Direct Connect is a good choice for customers who have a private networking requirement or who have access to AWS Direct Connect exchanges. S3 Transfer Acceleration is best for submitting data from distributed client locations over the public Internet, or where variable network conditions make throughput poor.
  • S3 TA vs VPN
    • You typically use (IPsec) VPN if you want your resources contained in a private network. VPN tools such as OpenVPN allow you to setup stricter access controls if you have a private S3 bucket. You can complement this further with the increased speeds from S3 TA.
  • S3 TA vs Multipart Upload
    • Use multipart upload if you are uploading large files and you want to handle failed uploads gracefully. With multipart upload, each part of your upload is a contiguous portion of the object’s data. You can upload these object parts independently and in any order. If transmission of any part fails, you can retransmit that part without affecting other parts. 
    • For S3 TA, as the name implies, accelerates your transfer speeds, not just for upload but also for download speed. There is no reason why you can’t use S3 TA and multipart upload together, but if you are only handling small files, using multipart upload is not necessary.

AWS Direct Connect

  • Using AWS Direct Connect, data that would have previously been transported over the Internet can now be delivered through a private physical network connection between AWS and your datacenter or corporate network. Customers’ traffic will remain in AWS global network backbone, after it enters AWS global network backbone.
  • Benefits of Direct Connect vs internet-based connections
    • reduced costs
    • increased bandwidth
    • a more consistent network experience
  • Each AWS Direct Connect connection can be configured with one or more virtual interfaces. Virtual interfaces may be configured to access AWS services such as Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 using public IP space, or resources in a VPC using private IP space.
  • You can run IPv4 and IPv6 on the same virtual interface.
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  • Direct Connect does not support multicast.
  • A Direct Connect connection is not redundant. Therefore, a second line needs to be established if redundancy is required. Enable Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) when configuring your connections to ensure fast detection and failover.
  • AWS Direct Connect offers SLA.
  • Direct Connect vs IPsec VPN
    • A VPC VPN Connection utilizes IPSec to establish encrypted network connectivity between your intranet and Amazon VPC over the Internet. VPN Connections can be configured in minutes and are a good solution if you have an immediate need, have low to modest bandwidth requirements, and can tolerate the inherent variability in Internet-based connectivity. AWS Direct Connect does not involve the Internet; instead, it uses dedicated, private network connections between your intranet and Amazon VPC.
  • You can combine one or more Direct Connect dedicated network connections with the Amazon VPC VPN. This combination provides an IPsec-encrypted private connection that also includes the benefits of Direct Connect.



  • AWS VPN is comprised of two services:
    • AWS Site-to-Site VPN enables you to securely connect your on-premises network or branch office site to your Amazon VPC.
    • AWS Client VPN enables you to securely connect users to AWS or on-premises networks.
  • Data transferred between your VPC and datacenter routes over an encrypted VPN connection to help maintain the confidentiality and integrity of data in transit.
  • If data that passes through Direct Connect moves in a dedicated private network line, AWS VPN instead encrypts the data before passing it through the Internet.
  • VPN connection throughput can depend on multiple factors, such as the capability of your customer gateway, the capacity of your connection, average packet size, the protocol being used, TCP vs. UDP, and the network latency between your customer gateway and the virtual private gateway.
  • All the VPN sessions are full-tunnel VPN. (cannot split tunnel)
  • AWS Site-to-Site VPN enable you to create failover and CloudHub solutions with AWS Direct Connect.
  • AWS Client VPN is designed to connect devices to your applications. It allows you to choose from OpenVPN-based client.



  • Snowball is a petabyte-scale data transport solution that uses secure appliances to transfer large amounts of data into and out of AWS.
  • Benefits of Snowball include:
    • lower network costs,
    • Shorter transfer times,
    • and security using 256-bit encryption keys you manage through AWS Key Management Service (KMS)..
  • Similar to Direct Connect, AWS Snowball is physical hardware. It includes a 10GBaseT network connection. You can order a device with either 50TB or an 80TB storage capacity.
  • Data transported via Snowball are stored in Amazon S3 once the device arrives at AWS centers.
  • AWS Snowball is not only for shipping data into AWS, but also out of AWS.
  • AWS Snowball can be used as a quick order for additional temporary petabyte storage.
  • For security purposes, data transfers must be completed within 90 days of a Snowball’s preparation.
  • When the transfer is complete and the device is ready to be returned, the E Ink shipping label will automatically update to indicate the correct AWS facility to ship to, and you can track the job status by using Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), text messages, or directly in the console.
  • Snowball is the best choice if you need to more securely and quickly transfer terabytes to many petabytes of data to AWS. Snowball can also be the right choice if you don’t want to make expensive upgrades to your network infrastructure, if you frequently experience large backlogs of data, if you’re located in a physically isolated environment, or if you’re in an area where high-bandwidth Internet connections are not available or cost-prohibitive.
  • If you will be transferring data to AWS on an ongoing basis, it is better to use AWS Direct Connect.
  • If multiple users located in different locations are interacting with S3 continuously, it is better to use S3 TA.
  • You cannot export data directly from S3 Glacier. It should be first restored to S3.



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  • Snowmobile is Snowball with larger storage capacity. Snowmobile is literally a mobile truck.
  • Snowmobile is an Exabyte-scale data transfer service.
  • You can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile.
  • Snowmobile uses multiple layers of security to help protect your data including dedicated security personnel, GPS tracking, alarm monitoring, 24/7 video surveillance, and an optional escort security vehicle while in transit. All data is encrypted with 256-bit encryption keys you manage through the AWS Key Management Service (KMS).
  • After the data transfer is complete, the Snowmobile will be returned to your designated AWS region where your data will be uploaded into the AWS storage services such as S3 or Glacier.
  • Snowball vs Snowmobile
    • To migrate large datasets of 10PB or more in a single location, you should use Snowmobile. For datasets less than 10PB or distributed in multiple locations, you should use Snowball.
    • If you have a high speed backbone with hundreds of Gb/s of spare throughput, then you can use Snowmobile to migrate the large datasets all at once. If you have limited bandwidth on your backbone, you should consider using multiple Snowballs to migrate the data incrementally.
    • Snowmobile does not support data export. Use Snowball/Snowball Edge for this cause.
  • When the data import has been processed and verified, AWS performs a software erasure based on NIST guidelines.




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