May 18, 2017 - Technology

An 18-wheeler is the fastest way to ship data to the cloud

Amazon / screenshot

The fastest way to send ever-increasing quantities of data to the cloud isn't via an internet connection — it's actually much faster to transmit it by an 18-wheel truck, WIRED reports.

Why it matters: The next computing frontiers, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, not only require a ton of data to work, their processes also create hoards of new data that have to be stored somewhere. While broadband connections are getting faster, they still don't have the capacity (in most cases) to efficiently beam terabytes of data to the cloud.

The Amazon effect: The tech giant wanted to make it easier to store these troves of data with Amazon Web Services, so last year it rolled out trucks known as "Snowmobiles" that would transport data to an Amazon data center, rather than rely on a web connection that might take months or years to upload data. WIRED recounts how a satellite imaging company, DigitalGlobe, is using the trucks to transport 17 years worth of high-resolution satellite images of earth — amounting to 100 petabytes — to Amazon data centers.

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