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Amazon Glacier: How It Works, How Much It Costs

The majority of modern businesses have a whole lot of data stored on their systems. Whether it is financial spreadsheets, customer information or just general work documents, gigabytes of data are being held by businesses.

However, not all of this data is going to be accessed constantly. In fact, some of it may never be accessed again, but simply stored for legacy reasons. The question is, what’s the best method to go about storing this data?

Amazon thinks they have a solution with their recently announced Amazon Glacier service.

Signing up to Glacier creates a vault (Amazon’s term for an archive) that users can upload their data to. Each archive can hold 40 terabytes of data and you can have up to 1000 vaults per region. Essentially, there’s a vast amount of space that means every user should be satisfied.

Amazon claims that Glacier has a very high durability rate, essentially being up virtually 24/7. The service will check your data for integrity, self-heal and be stored redundantly, meaning that your data should be kept secure and safe with Amazon’s storage sensibilities in use.

You might be aware of Amazon’s other storage service called S3. However, Glacier is different in that it only deals with archive storage. S3 is for data that you need constant access to and can utilise it whenever you want. Data requests on Glacier, however, are sent into a queue and will be available to you within 3 to 4 hours. As such, Glacier is not suitable for day-to-day data storage.

Glacier pricing varies depending on your region, but essentially works out to $0.01 per GB of storage. Because Glacier is intended as archival storage, you might be charged to retrieve your data, depending on how much you wish to access. You will be able to retrieve up to 5% of your average monthly storage for free each month. However, if you want to retrieve more than this in a month then you will be charged a retrieval fee that begins at $0.011 per gigabyte. Additionally, there is a pro-rated charge of $0.033 per gigabyte for items deleted prior to 30 days.

“Amazon Glacier enables any business or organization to easily and cost effectively retain data for months, years, or decades,” says Amazon, implying that they are in Glacier for the long run. “With Amazon Glacier, customers can now cost effectively retain more of their data for future analysis or reference, and they can focus on their business rather than operating and maintaining their storage infrastructure.”

Users can store virtually any kind of data in any format they want on the service. All data is encrypted server side, with key management and protection handled by Amazon. The service uses AES-256 encryption, but users wishing to manage their own keys can encrypt the data prior to upload.

For those looking to store vast amounts of archive data in the cloud at an extremely low cost, it seems that Amazon Glacier is the perfect service for you. Check out Amazon’s website where you can find out more details, including pricing specific to your region.


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