Q. What is the AWS Storage Gateway?

The AWS Storage Gateway is a service connecting an on-premises software appliance with cloud-based storage to provide seamless and secure integration between an organization’s on-premises IT environment and AWS’s storage infrastructure. The service enables you to securely store data to the AWS cloud for scalable and cost-effective storage. The AWS Storage Gateway supports industry-standard storage protocols that work with your existing applications. It provides low-latency performance by maintaining frequently accessed data on-premises while encrypting and storing all of your data in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) or Amazon Glacier.

The AWS Storage Gateway supports three configurations:

Gateway-Cached Volumes: You can durably and inexpensively store your primary data in Amazon S3, and retain your frequently accessed data locally. Gateway-Cached Volumes provide substantial cost savings on primary storage, minimize the need to scale your storage on-premises, and provide low-latency access to your frequently accessed data. In addition to storing your primary data in Amazon S3 using Gateway-Cached Volumes, you can also take point-in-time snapshots of your Gateway-Cached volume data in Amazon S3, enabling you to make space-efficient versioned copies of your volumes for data protection and various data reuse needs.

Gateway-Stored Volumes: In the event you need low-latency access to your entire data set, you can configure your gateway to store your primary data locally, and asynchronously back up point-in-time snapshots of this data to Amazon S3. Gateway-Stored volumes provide durable and inexpensive off-site backups that you can recover locally or from Amazon EC2 if, for example, you need replacement capacity for disaster recovery.

Gateway-Virtual Tape Library (Gateway-VTL): With Gateway-VTL you can have a limitless collection of virtual tapes. Each virtual tape can be stored in a Virtual Tape Library backed by Amazon S3 or a Virtual Tape Shelf backed by Amazon Glacier. The Virtual Tape Library exposes an industry standard iSCSI interface which provides your backup application with on-line access to the virtual tapes. When you no longer require immediate or frequent access to data contained on a virtual tape, you can use your backup application to move it from its Virtual Tape Library to your Virtual Tape Shelf in order to further reduce your storage costs.

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Q. How does the AWS Storage Gateway work?

The AWS Storage Gateway’s software appliance is available for download as a virtual machine (VM) image that you install on a host in your datacenter. Once you’ve installed your gateway and associated it with your AWS Account through our activation process, you can use the AWS Management Console to create either Gateway-Cached or Gateway-Stored storage volumes or Gateway-VTL virtual tape libraries that can be mounted as iSCSI devices by your on-premises applications.

Gateway-Cached volumes allow you to utilize Amazon S3 for your primary data, while retaining some portion of it locally in a cache for frequently accessed data. These volumes minimize the need to scale your on-premises storage infrastructure, while still providing your applications with low-latency access to frequently accessed data. You can create storage volumes up to 32 TB in size and mount them as iSCSI devices from your on-premises application servers. Data written to these volumes is stored in Amazon S3, with only a cache of recently written and recently read data stored locally on your on-premises storage hardware. You can also take point-in-time snapshots of your Gateway-Cached volume data in Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots, enabling you to make space-efficient versioned copies of your volumes for data protection and various data reuse needs.

Gateway-Stored volumes store your primary data locally, while asynchronously backing up that data to AWS. These volumes provide your on-premises applications with low-latency access to their entire data sets, while providing durable, off-site backups. You can create storage volumes up to 1 TB in size and mount them as iSCSI devices from your on-premises application servers. Data written to your Gateway-Stored volumes is stored on your on-premises storage hardware, and asynchronously backed up to Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots.

Gateway-VTL enables you to seamlessly replace your physical tape infrastructure with a virtual tape infrastructure. Each Gateway-VTL presents your backup application with an industry-standard iSCSI-based Virtual Tape Library (VTL) consisting of a virtual media changer and tape drives. You can create virtual tapes in your Virtual Tape Library using the AWS Management Console. Each Virtual Tape Library can hold up to 1,500 virtual tapes with a maximum aggregate capacity of 150 TB. Virtual tapes are discovered by your backup application using its standard media inventory procedure. Virtual tapes in your Virtual Tape Library are available for immediate access and are backed by Amazon S3. Your backup application can read data from or write data to virtual tapes by mounting them to virtual tape drives using the virtual media changer.

For cost-effective long term retention of data requiring infrequent access,you can use your backup application to move virtual tapes from one or more of your Virtual Tape Libraries to your Virtual Tape Shelf (VTS) that is backed by Amazon Glacier. Your Virtual Tape Self is automatically created when you activate your first Gateway-VTL. Virtual tapes that need to be accessed frequently should be stored in a Virtual Tape Library. Data that does not need to be retrieved frequently can be archived to your Virtual Tape Shelf. Access to virtual tapes in your Virtual Tape Library is immediate while virtual tapes in your Virtual Tape Shelf will have to be retrieved and loaded into a Virtual Tape Library before being accessed. You can retrieve virtual tapes from your Virtual Tape Shelf using the AWS Management Console. Virtual tapes retrieved from your Virtual Tape Shelf take about 24 hours to be available and will automatically be loaded into your Virtual Tape Library.

Q. How can I get started using the AWS Storage Gateway?

To get started, sign up for the AWS Storage Gateway by clicking the “Sign Up Now” button on the AWS Storage Gateway detail page. To sign-up, you must have an Amazon Web Services account; if you do not already have one, you will be prompted to create one when you begin the AWS Storage Gateway sign-up process. After you sign up, you can begin setting up and activating your gateway by visiting the AWS Management Console. To learn more, you can also refer to our Getting Started Documentation. We also have a Getting Started Video for Gateway-Cached Volumes.

Q. What are the minimum hardware requirements for the AWS Storage Gateway’s VM?

The AWS Storage Gateway VM must be installed on a host in your datacenter running supported versions of VMWare ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V. The gateway VM must be deployed with these minimum resources:

4 Virtual Processors.

7.5 GB of RAM.

75 GB of disk space for installation of virtual machine image and system data.

The AWS Storage Gateway currently supports these versions of the Microsoft Windows and Red Hat iSCSI Software Initiators.

Q. Can I use the AWS Storage Gateway with AWS Direct Connect?

The AWS Storage Gateway efficiently uses your Internet bandwidth to speed up the upload of your on-premises application data to AWS. The AWS Storage Gateway only uploads data that has changed, minimizing the amount of data sent over the Internet. You can also use AWS Direct Connect to further increase throughput and reduce your network costs by establishing a dedicated network connection between your on-premises gateway and AWS.

Q. Can I route my AWS Storage Gateway Internet traffic through a local proxy server?

Yes, the AWS Storage Gateway supports the configuration of a SOCKS proxy between your gateway and AWS. You can specify an IP address and Port number for the host running your proxy, and the AWS Storage Gateway will route all HTTPS traffic through your proxy server.

Q. What is the maximum size of a volume?

Each Gateway-Cached volume can store up to 32 TB of data in Amazon S3 and data is only stored in Amazon S3 when you have written it to your Gateway-Cached volume. Amazon S3 storage is not pre-provisioned.

Each Gateway-Stored volume can store up to 1 TB of data on your local hardware and data written locally is asynchronously backed up to Amazon S3. Amazon S3 storage is not pre-provisioned

Q. How much volume data can I manage per gateway?

Each Gateway-Cached Volume gateway can support up to 20 volumes and a maximum of 150 TB of data.

Each Gateway-Stored Volume gateway can support up to 12 volumes and a maximum of 12 TB of data.

Q. What are the snapshot limits per gateway?

There are no limits to the number of snapshots or the amount of snapshot data a single gateway can produce.

Q. Why would I use snapshots?

Whether you’re using Gateway-Cached or Gateway-Stored volumes, you can take point-in-time, incremental snapshots of your volume and store them in Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots. For Gateway-Stored volumes, where your volume data is stored on-premises, snapshots provide durable, off-site backups in Amazon S3. You can create a new Gateway-Stored volume from a snapshot in the event you need to recover a backup. You can also use a snapshot of your Gateway-Stored volume as the starting point for a new Amazon EBS volume which you can then attach to an Amazon EC2 instance.

For Gateway-Cached volumes, where your volume data is already stored in Amazon S3, snapshots can be used to preserve versions of your data, allowing you to revert to a prior version when required or to repurpose a point-in-time version as a new Gateway-Cached volume. Snapshots can be initiated on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis. When taking a new snapshot, only the data that has changed since your last snapshot is stored. If you have a volume with 100 GB of data, but only 5 GB of data have changed since your last snapshot, only the 5 additional GB of snapshot data will be stored in Amazon S3. When you delete a snapshot, only the data not needed for any other snapshot is removed.

Q. How do I restore a snapshot to a gateway volume?

Using the AWS Management Console, you can create a new gateway volume from a snapshot you’ve stored in Amazon S3. You can then mount this volume as an iSCSI device to your on-premises application server.

Because Gateway-Stored volumes store your primary data locally, when creating a new volume from a snapshot, your gateway downloads the data contained within the snapshot to your local hardware, where it becomes the primary data for your new volume.

Because Gateway-Cached volumes store your primary data in Amazon S3, when creating a new volume from a snapshot, your gateway keeps the snapshot data in Amazon S3 where it becomes the primary data for your new volume.

Q. Can I access my snapshots from within AWS?

Data written to your Gateway-Stored volumes is stored on your on-premises storage hardware, and asynchronously backed up to Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots. You can use a snapshot of your Gateway-Stored volume as the starting point for a new Amazon EBS volume which you can then attach to an Amazon EC2 instance. This allows you to easily mirror data from your on-premises applications to your applications running on Amazon EC2 in the event you require additional on-demand compute capacity for data processing or replacement capacity for disaster recovery purposes.

Q. Can I read an older snapshot to do a point-in-time recovery?

Each snapshot is given a unique identifier which can be viewed using the AWS Management Console. You can create AWS Storage Gateway or Amazon EBS volumes based on any of your existing snapshots by specifying this unique identifier.

Q. Do the AWS Storage Gateway’s volumes need to be un-mounted in order to take a snapshot? Does the snapshot need to complete before the volume can be used again?

No, taking snapshots does not require you to un-mount your volumes, nor does it impact your application’s performance. However, snapshots only capture data that has been written to your AWS Storage Gateway volume, which may exclude any data that has been locally buffered by your application or OS.

Q. Can I schedule snapshots of my gateway’s storage volumes?

Yes, you can create a snapshot schedule for each of your storage volumes. You can modify both the time the snapshot occurs each day, as well as the frequency (every 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, or 24 hours).

Q. How long does it take to complete a snapshot?

You can take snapshots of your Gateway-Cached volume in Amazon S3, or your on-premises Gateway-Stored volume. These snapshots are stored as Amazon EBS snapshots in Amazon S3. The time it takes to complete a snapshot is largely dependent upon the size of your volume and the speed of your Internet connection to AWS. The AWS Storage Gateway compresses all data prior to upload, reducing the time to take a snapshot.

Q. What performance can I expect from Gateway-Cached Volumes/Gateway-Stored Volumes?

As the AWS Storage Gateway VM sits between your application, Amazon S3, and underlying on-premises storage, the performance you experience will be dependent upon a number of factors, including the speed and configuration of your underlying local disks, the network bandwidth between your iSCSI initiator and gateway VM, the amount of local storage allocated to your gateway VM, and the bandwidth between your gateway VM and Amazon S3. For Gateway-Cached volumes, to provide low-latency read access to your on-premises applications, it’s important that you allocate enough local cache disk storage to store your recently accessed data. Our technical documentation provides guidance on how to optimize your environment setup for best performance, including how to properly size your local storage.

Q. Will I be able to access my snapshot data or Gateway-Cached volume data using Amazon S3’s APIs?

No, snapshots are only accessible from the AWS Storage Gateway and Amazon EBS and cannot be directly accessed using Amazon S3 APIs. Similarly, volumes can only be accessed from the AWS Storage Gateway.

Q. How much data can I store on a virtual tape?

When creating a virtual tape, you can select one of the following sizes: 100 GB, 200 GB, 400 GB, 800 GB, 1.5 TB, and 2.5 TB.

Q. How much data can I store in a Virtual Tape Library?

Each Virtual Tape Library can store up to 1,500 virtual tapes with a maximum aggregate capacity of 150 TB.

Q. How much data can I store on a Virtual Tape Shelf?

There is no limit to the amount of data you can store on a Virtual Tape Shelf.

Q. How do I access my data on virtual tapes?

The virtual tape containing your data must be stored in a Virtual Tape Library before it can be accessed. Access to virtual tapes in your Virtual Tape Library is instantaneous. If the virtual tape containing your data is in your Virtual Tape Shelf, you must first retrieve the virtual tape from your Virtual Tape Shelf. You can retrieve the virtual tape using the AWS Management Console. First select the virtual tape, then choose the Virtual Tape Library into which you want the virtual tape to be loaded. It takes about 24 hours for the retrieved virtual tape to be available in the selected Virtual Tape Library. Once the virtual tape is available in the Virtual Tape Library, you can use your backup application to make use of the virtual tape to restore data.

Q. What backup applications can I use with Gateway-VTL?

Gateway-VTL works with backup and archival applications that use the industry-standard iSCSI-based tape library interface.

Q. What performance can I expect from a Gateway-VTL?

As the Gateway-VTL sits between your application, AWS, and underlying on-premises storage, the performance you experience will be dependent upon a number of factors, including the speed and configuration of your underlying local disks, processor and memory of the provisioned host, the network bandwidth between your iSCSI initiator and gateway VM, the amount of local storage allocated to the gateway VM, and the bandwidth between the gateway VM and AWS. For Gateway-VTL, to provide predictable write performance to your backup application, it’s important that you allocate enough local cache disk storage to durably buffer data that is being uploaded to AWS. Please refer to the technical documentation for guidance on sizing cache.

We also recommend configuring your disks in a RAID (redundant array of independent disks) configuration to improve performance and to protect against disk failures.

Q. Will I be able to access the virtual tapes in my Virtual Tape Library using Amazon S3’s APIs? Can I access the virtual tapes in my Virtual Tape Shelf using Amazon Glacier’s APIs?

No. You cannot access virtual tape data using Amazon S3’s APIs or Amazon Glacier’s APIs. However, you can use Gateway-VTL’s APIs to manage your Virtual Tape Library and your Virtual Tape Shelf.

Q. How will I be billed for my use of the AWS Storage Gateway?

You are billed a monthly fee for each of your gateways. This fee is prorated daily. Billing for a gateway begins upon activation and continues until you delete the gateway from the AWS Management Console or via the API.

Q. How will I be billed for storage consumed using AWS Storage Gateway?

  • Volume storage usage (per GB per month): You are billed for the Cached volume data you store in Amazon S3. You are only billed for volume capacity you use, not for the size of the volume you create.
  • Snapshot Storage usage (per GB per month): You are billed for the snapshots your gateway stores in Amazon S3. These snapshots are stored and billed as Amazon EBS snapshots. Snapshots are incremental backups, reducing your storage charges. When taking a new snapshot, only the data that has changed since your last snapshot is stored.
  • Virtual Tape Library usage (per GB per month): You are billed for the virtual tape data you store in Amazon S3. You are only billed for the portion of virtual tape capacity that you use, not for the size of the virtual tape.
  • Virtual Tape Shelf usage (per GB per month): You are billed for the virtual tape data you store in Amazon Glacier. You are only billed for the portion of virtual tape capacity that you use, not for the size of the virtual tape.

In addition, all volume, snapshot, and virtual tape storage is compressed to further reduce your storage charges. For detailed pricing information, please visit the pricing section on the AWS Storage Gateway detail page.

Q. How will I be billed for data transfer to and from AWS?

You are billed for Internet data transfer for each GB downloaded from AWS to your gateway. All data transfer in is free.

Q. How will I be charged when retrieving data from Virtual Tape Shelf?

You are charged for the peak concurrent data retrieval in a month¶. Concurrent data retrieval is calculated when a retrieval from Virtual Tape Shelf is initiated. The concurrent data retrieval is the sum of the size of all virtual tape retrievals that were initiated concurrently or were concurrently in progress. If the concurrent data retrieval is more than any prior concurrent data retrieval in the month you are charged for the difference between this new monthly peak and the prior monthly peak. If the concurrent data retrieval is less than or equal to any prior concurrent data retrieval in the month, the retrieval is free.

  • Example 1: You initiate retrieval of a 100 GB virtual tape from your Virtual Tape Shelf in US East (Northern Virginia) Region. This is the first retrieval of the month. The prior peak concurrent data retrieval for the month was 0 GB. When the retrieval is initiated the concurrent data retrieved will be 100 GB. 100 GB will be your new monthly peak concurrent data retrieval. The charge for the retrieval will be the difference between the prior and the new peak concurrent data retrieval, i.e., (100 GB – 0 GB) x $0.30/GB = $30.00.
  • Example 2: You initiate retrieval of one virtual tape containing 500 GB of data from your Virtual Tape Self in US East (Northern Virginia) Region. This is the first retrieval of the month. The prior peak concurrent data retrieval for the month was 0 GB. When the retrieval is initiated the concurrent data retrieved will be 500 GB. 500 GB will be your new monthly peak concurrent data retrieval. You will be charged the difference between the prior and new peak concurrent data retrieval, i.e. (500 GB - 0 GB) x $0.30 / GB = $150. Twelve hours after initiating the retrieval of the 500 GB virtual tape you initiate retrieval of a virtual tape containing 600 GB of data. When the second retrieval is initiated you will have two virtual tape retrievals concurrently in progress as any virtual tape retrieval takes about 24 hours to complete. The concurrent data retrieved will be 500 GB + 600 GB = 1100 GB. The new peak concurrent data retrieval for the month will be 1100 GB and you will now be charged the difference between the new peak concurrent data retrieval and the existing peak concurrent data retrieval, i.e., (1100 GB-500 GB) x $0.30 = $180.
  • Example 3: You initiate retrieval of one 500 GB virtual tape from the Virtual Tape Shelf in US East (Northern Virginia) Region. This is the first retrieval of the month. The prior peak concurrent data retrieval for the month was 0 GB. When the retrieval is initiated the concurrent data retrieved will be 500 GB which will be your new peak concurrent data retrieved. The charge for the retrieval will be the difference between the prior and the new peak concurrent data retrieval i.e., (500 GB – 0 GB) x $0.30/GB = $150.00. The next day, you initiate a retrieval of one 500 GB virtual tape after the first tape retrieval is complete. Because 500 GB is equal to the prior peak concurrent data retrieval of 500 GB, the second retrieval will be free.

¶ The billing system follows Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The calendar month begins midnight UTC on the first day of every month.

Q. How will I be charged for deleting data from my Virtual Tape Shelf that is less than 3 months old?

Virtual Tape Shelf is designed for use cases where data is retained for months, years, or decades. Deleting virtual tapes from a Virtual Tape Shelf is free if the virtual tape being deleted has been stored for three months or longer. If a virtual tape is deleted within three months of being archived, you will be charged an early deletion fee. In the US East (Northern Virginia) Region, you would be charged a prorated early deletion fee of $0.03 per GB deleted within three months. For example, if you delete 1 virtual tape containing 1 GB of data 1 month after uploading it, you would be charged a $0.02 early deletion fee. If, instead you delete the same virtual tape after 2 months, you would be charged a $0.01 early deletion fee.

Q. Do your prices include taxes?

Except as otherwise noted, our prices are exclusive of applicable taxes and duties, including VAT and applicable sales tax. For customers with a Japanese billing address, use of the Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region is subject to Japanese Consumption Tax. Learn more.

Q. Does the AWS Storage Gateway encrypt my data?

The AWS Storage Gateway encrypts all data in-transit to and from AWS via SSL. All volume and snapshot data stored in AWS using Gateway-Stored Volumes/Gateway-Cached Volumes and all virtual tape data stored in AWS using Gateway-VTL is encrypted-at-rest using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256, a secure symmetric-key encryption standard using 256-bit encryption keys.

Q. What form of iSCSI authentication does the AWS Storage Gateway support?

The AWS Storage Gateway supports authentication between your gateway and iSCSI initiators via CHAP (Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol).

Q. How do I monitor my gateway?

You can use Amazon CloudWatch to monitor the performance metrics for your AWS Storage Gateway volumes, giving you insight into bandwidth, throughput, and latency. For your Gateway-Cached volumes, you can also monitor your CacheHitPercent to ensure your local cache storage is large enough to store your recently accessed data for low-latency on-premises access. These metrics are accessible from the AWS Management Console. You can refer to our technical documentation to learn more.

Q. Does the AWS Storage Gateway support bandwidth throttling?

Yes, using the AWS Management Console, you can restrict the bandwidth between your gateway and AWS based on a rate that you provide. You can specify individual rates for inbound and outbound traffic.

Q. How does the AWS Storage Gateway manage updates?

When configuring your gateway, you can specify a weekly maintenance schedule. This allows you to control when the AWS Storage Gateway service deploys important updates and software patches to your local gateway. Updates should take only a few minutes to complete.

Q. Does AWS Premium Support cover the AWS Storage Gateway?

Yes, AWS Premium Support covers issues related to your use of the AWS Storage Gateway. Please see the AWS Premium Support detail page for further details and pricing.

Q: What other support options are available?

You can tap into the breadth of existing AWS community knowledge through the AWS Storage Gateway discussion forum.