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.
Companies typically over-pay for data archiving. First, they're forced to make an expensive upfront payment for their archiving solution (which does not include the ongoing cost for operational expenses such as power, facilities, staffing, and maintenance). Second, since companies have to guess what their capacity requirements will be, they understandably over-provision to make sure they have enough capacity for data redundancy and unexpected growth. This set of circumstances results in under-utilized capacity and wasted money. With Amazon Glacier, you pay only for what you use. Amazon Glacier changes the game for data archiving and backup as you pay nothing upfront, pay a very low price for storage, and can scale your usage up or down as needed, while AWS handles all of the operational heavy lifting required to do data retention well. It only takes a few clicks in the AWS Management Console to set up Amazon Glacier and then you can upload any amount of data you choose.
Amazon Glacier supports secure transfer of your data over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and automatically encrypts data at rest using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit symmetric keys. You can control access to your data using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). IAM enables organizations to create and manage multiple users under a single AWS account and to set resource-based access policies.
Amazon Glacier is designed to provide average annual durability of 99.999999999% for an archive. The service redundantly stores data in multiple facilities and on multiple devices within each facility. To increase durability, Amazon Glacier synchronously stores your data across multiple facilities before returning SUCCESS on uploading archives. Unlike traditional systems that can require laborious data verification and manual repair, Glacier performs regular, systematic data integrity checks and is built to be automatically self-healing.
Amazon Glacier scales to meet your growing and often unpredictable storage requirements. There is no limit to the amount of data you can store in the service. Whether you’re storing petabytes or gigabytes, Glacier automatically scales your storage up or down as needed. In addition, you can choose to store your data in the Amazon Glacier Region that meets your regulatory, throughput, and geographic redundancy criteria.
Amazon Glacier allows you to offload the administrative burdens of operating and scaling archival storage to AWS, and makes retaining data for long periods, whether measured in years or decades, especially simple. Amazon Glacier removes the need for complex and time-consuming capacity planning, ongoing negotiations with multiple hardware and software vendors, specialized training, and maintenance of offsite facilities or transportation of storage media to third-party offsite locations. Traditional storage hardware is only supported for a limited number of years. With Amazon Glacier, customers no longer need to manage the expensive, time-consuming, and risky hardware and storage media migrations that are inevitable when your data retention period exceeds the lifetime of your storage hardware. Data uploaded to Amazon Glacier remains safely stored for as long as it is needed, with no additional effort from customers.
Amazon Glacier can be used to support a wide variety of use cases, for example:
Organizations are archiving more and more data, driven by business and regulatory needs and the increasing amount of data they produce. Examples include email, legal records, and financial and business documents. This data is often retained for years or decades, but is accessed infrequently. Amazon Glacier allows you to cost-effectively and securely store enterprise data offsite, making it simple, inexpensive and safe to retain archived data for as long as desired. The service’s extremely low storage cost enables you to retain data that may be of future value, but that otherwise may have been discarded in order to reduce costs or to make room for additional data. Businesses and organizations of any size can use Amazon Glacier to reduce their storage costs and free up their primary storage infrastructure.
Media companies’ core assets are their content which includes books, movies, music, images, news footage, and TV shows. The number and size of these assets continues to grow, driven by new production and new technologies such as high-definition TV, social media and 3D video. These assets can grow to tens or hundreds of petabytes. Safely and securely storing these assets is of critical importance. Data accessibility is also critical. For example, certain archival news footage can suddenly become valuable based on unfolding events. Archiving media has traditionally required costly, multi-site, redundant data centers and offsite vaulting. Amazon Glacier reduces the cost of storing these assets while simultaneously increasing the durability, ease of use, and accessibility of the content. Accessing media files in Amazon Glacier is as simple as making calls to the service’s APIs. Customers don’t need to worry about transporting storage media from offsite facilities in order to restore data.
Research and scientific organizations, such as pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies, as well as universities and research institutes, have large data archiving needs. An example use-case is drug development, where a substantial amount of data is generated and must be retained so researchers can verify experimental drug test results. Traditionally, this data has been stored on inflexible tape-based storage systems with copies stored in multiple sites and often with a copy vaulted offsite as well. Amazon Glacier reduces the cost of storing these data sets by eliminating the operational overhead involved in managing hardware and data centers. The service automatically stores redundant data in multiple facilities and on multiple devices within each facility and is built to be automatically self-healing, performing regular, systematic data integrity checks and using redundant data to perform automatic repairs if errors are discovered.
Digital preservationists in organizations such as libraries, historical societies, non-profit organizations and governments are increasing their efforts to preserve valuable but aging digital content such as websites, software source code, video games, user-generated content and other digital artifacts that are no longer readily available. These archive volumes may start small, but can grow to petabytes over time. Amazon Glacier makes highly durable, cost-effective storage accessible for data volumes of any size. This contrasts with traditional data archiving solutions that require large scale and accurate capacity planning in order to be cost-effective.
Amazon Glacier can replace on-premise or offsite tape libraries. Although magnetic tape-based storage can be cost-effective when operated at scale, it can be a drain on resources as one (or more) tape libraries need to be maintained (often in geographically distinct locations) requiring specialized personnel, and taking up valuable space in data centers. In addition, the tapes themselves must be carefully stored and managed, which can include periodically copying data from old tapes onto new ones to ensure that your data can still be read as tape technology standards evolve. Replacing your tape library with Amazon Glacier removes the burden of managing these operational challenges. Entire data sets can be moved from tape libraries into Amazon Glacier, a process that can be economically accelerated by using AWS Import / Export.
Tape’s low cost potential also requires accurate capacity planning, a process that is usually error-prone, especially when storage growth is unpredictable, as it often is. Over provisioning capacity can result in under utilization and higher costs, while under provisioning can trigger expensive hardware upgrades far earlier than planned. Even when capacity planning is accurate, periodic hardware upgrades are still common as older tape libraries are less efficient and therefore costlier to operate. You can avoid investing in tape library upgrades, whether driven by capacity constraints or a technology refresh, and instead simply start storing data in Amazon Glacier. In doing so, you avoid the need for large upfront capital and expensive multi-year support commitments. With Amazon Glacier, you pay only for the capacity you use eliminating the need for capacity planning.