Glacier: New Data Archival Service from Amazon Web Services

GlacierI use Amazon Web Services here at John Carroll every day. We serve media from it, use it as a content delivery network and we store backups there, which I’ve blogged about here.

Every night, we backup our web files and databases and store them in Amazon S3. We keep a few days worth of backups there, and it’s proven itself as an easy way to get files when we’ve needed them.

As a marketing and communications shop, we also have the need to store large video, photo and audio projects once their completed. Those costs can get very high very quickly for large projects.

Today, Amazon announced a new storage and archiving product, called Glacier. From Amazon:

Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. In order to keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions.

$0.01 per GB per month? That’s crazy. Compared to regular price of $0.125/GB for regular storage, there’s potential for serious cost savings there.

Something users need to be aware of is the fact that unlike S3’s immediate access, Glacier needs to go find your files and it may take several hours to completely get your project back. For large projects that you don’t need immediate access to, it sounds like a good service.

You can add data in a programmatic way using the Glacier API, or their import/export service where you can physically send a hard drive to Amazon for them to ingest. While it’s not live yet, I’m interested in the promised ability to set a life-cycle on data stored in S3 and having it automatically migrate to Glacier when a certain amount of time has passed.

More about Glacier is available on the Amazon Web Services site.