Amazon Glacier: Store Files Online for 1 Cent per GB!

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Amazon has launched a new service called Amazon Glacier. This is an online file storage and file archival service. Amazon already has Amazon S3 as a popular file hosting service. What separates Amazon Glacier is that it is especially customized for archiving backups and data that you want to store for a long time. Let’s say you have some data that you need to store for many months or years, but you will not need to frequently access or download that, then Amazon Glacier is the perfect service for that.

Why would you prefer Amazon Glacier over Amazon S3, or any other online cloud storage service? Because of the price. Amazon Glacier charges as less as 1 cent per GB per month! That’s the lowest rate I have seen for online file storage. So, you can store 100 GB of data, and just pay $1 per month! The rates vary by regions.

Amazon Glacier

Do note that Amazon Glacier is not a complete replacement for Amazon S3. It is not intended for quick data retrieval. In fact, if you want to retrieve some data from Amazon Glacier, you will need to submit a job for that, and data will ready for download after 3 to 5 hours! After that, data be available for 24 hours for download. So, you cannot use Amazon Glacier to store files that you need to access frequently. But this is perfect for storing data that you need to store for safety / audit / compliance purposes, and won’t need to access for a long time.

This statement on pricing page of Amazon Glacier pretty much summarizes the intent of this service:

Glacier is designed with the expectation that retrievals are infrequent and unusual, and data will be stored for extended periods of time

Amazon also guarantees good safety SLA for data. Your data will be stored in multiple data centers, and on multiple devices within each data center. Here is the SLA that Amazon promises for this service:

Amazon Glacier is designed to provide average annual durability of 99.999999999% for an archive

Amazon Glacier Cost

Amazon Glacier has the basic storage cost starting from $.01 per GB per month. However, there are some other costs also associated with Amazon Glacier, which are structured reduce frequent access to the data. For example, moving data in Amazon Glacier is free, but moving data out of Amazon Glacier costs 12 cents per GB. There is a free limit also on moving data out, and that is capped at 5% of your data stored in Amazon Glacier. Apart from that, another interesting cost that Amazon had associated with Amazon Glacier is early data deletion cost. If you delete data within first 3 months of its storage, you will have to pay a fee. You can see complete pricing details here.

Amazon Glacier Client

At the moment of writing this article, there are no clients available for Amazon Glacier. You can use AWS console to upload and download files from Amazon Glacier to create and  manage vaults. For uploading files to Amazon Glacier, you’ll need to use Glacier API. However, the API of Amazon Glacier is quite simple, and first client is expected within this week. Watch out this space for more. Apart from that, Amazon will soon allow moving data from Amazon S3 to Amazon Glacier.

Storage Limits on Amazon Glacier

You can store data from a few bytes up to 40 TB on Amazon Glacier. So, whatever your file size be, Amazon Glacier should work for you.

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