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.
Here’s how it works:
When you sign up for Glacier, you create a “vault” to store your uploaded data (your “archive”). Glacier encrypts your data using AES-256 encryption. You can store up to 40 terabytes of data in each archive, and up to 1,000 vaults per region in your Amazon Web Services account. So basically, you shouldn’t run out of room at any time soon.
Amazon says Glacier stores data with high durability—with an average annual durability of 99.999999999% per archive. Data integrity checks, self-healing, and storage redundancy also mean your data should stay safe for years.
How does it differ from Amazon’s cheap S3 storage service? First, it’s designed for archiving, so while S3 gives you rapid retrieval of your data, Glacier retrieval requests are queued, with archives available for downloading in 3 to 5 hours. You can also retrieve up to 5% of your average monthly storage on Glacier for free each month (the stuff you would store in these archives probably wouldn’t need to be accessed frequently).
Glacier looks like a good solution for offsite backup of your archived data—things you are keeping off your hard drive on media like optical discs, tapes, or hard drives. We all know that hard drives and other storage media fail and can take a lot of work migrating to newer technologies.