AWS for M&E Blog

Newly announced Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class—the lowest cost archive storage with milliseconds retrieval

Introduced at re:Invent 2021, Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval is a new Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) Glacier storage class that provides cloud archival storage with milliseconds retrieval for media workloads. It is a cost-effective storage option for infrequently accessed media files that can be quickly retrieved when needed.

Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval is the lowest cost S3 storage class for rarely accessed long-lived data that requires milliseconds retrieval, such as news media assets or sports highlights. With S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval, you can save up to 68% on storage costs compared to the S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA) storage class, when you access your data once per quarter. The Amazon S3 Glacier storage classes are purpose-built for data archiving, providing you with the highest performance, most retrieval flexibility, and lowest cost archive storage in the cloud. You can now choose from three archive S3 storage classes optimized for different access patterns and storage duration: Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval for milliseconds access to archival data, Amazon S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval (formerly S3 Glacier) for retrieval in minutes to hours, and Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive—the lowest cost storage in the cloud—with data retrieval from 12 to 48 hours.

Additionally, the Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering storage class now automatically includes a new Archive Instant Access tier for rarely accessed data that needs millisecond retrieval and high throughput performance. S3 Intelligent-Tiering is the first cloud storage that automatically reduces your storage costs on a granular object level by automatically moving data to the most cost-effective access tier based on access frequency, without performance impact, retrieval fees, or operational overhead. S3 Intelligent-Tiering delivers milliseconds latency and high throughput performance for frequently, infrequently, and now rarely accessed data in the Frequent, Infrequent, and new Archive Instant Access tiers. This means you can use S3 Intelligent-Tiering as the default storage class for virtually any workload, especially data lakes, data analytics, new applications, and user-generated content.

Cloud storage for media archives

Today, many customers struggle with restoring and repurposing archival materials because of disparate on-premises systems with legacy data on tape, referred to as Linear Tape Open (LTO). These LTO systems are costly to maintain, have limitations in search functionality/cataloging, lack integration across enterprise systems, and have reached end-of-life support. Customers are looking to normalize databases, consolidate formats, and develop a quick and efficient way to search and retrieve archival content. S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval further expands the range of S3 storage classes that are purpose-built to deliver the lowest cost storage for different data access patterns, such as frequently accessed data for analytics processing or rarely accessed archive data for compliance requirements. Often, customers need to store petabytes of data indefinitely, such as localized video files and news media content, where the data must be highly available and immediately accessible but access happens only a few times a year. For example, end users rarely access images they upload to photo sharing sites over time, but the site provider must ensure the images are immediately accessible when requested.

What media customers and partners are saying about S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval

Amazon S3 offers you the best media archive options. Working closely with media customers and Partners, AWS developed S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval to address the needs for a better cost–performance option for long-term cloud storage. You can get started with S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval with just a few clicks in the S3 console. Upload data directly into S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval through the Amazon S3 API, CLI, or use S3 Lifecycle to transition data from the S3 Standard and S3 Standard-IA storage classes into S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval. Like the other Amazon S3 storage classes, S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval supports all S3 features.

Take a look at the quotes below to see what media customers and partners are already saying about the new Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class.

Amagi logo

Amagi is a global media technology SaaS leader providing end-to-end cloud-managed live, on-demand video, and monetisation solutions for broadcast and streaming TV.

“With S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval, Amagi is excited to improve data retrieval performance for our content owners,” said Vijaya Sagar Vinnakota, VP Engineering from Amagi. “Many of our customers using our cloud video on-demand SaaS platforms have asset archival workflows that require fast retrieval of those assets, such as archived TV content, in the rare event they’re requested. S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval lets our cloud broadcasting customers save on storage costs, helps monetise their data by increasing revenue opportunities, and gives them peace of mind that their data will be accessed quickly when a viewer engages with the content.”

Dalet logo

Dalet empowers media-rich organizations to transform their production and distribution workflows – accelerating media operations, maximizing collaboration and creating higher value from content.

“Today, media organizations around the world need rapid and cost-effective access to their large content repositories, especially for fast turnaround workflows, such as breaking news and sports broadcasting,” said Ewan Johnston, Strategic Alliances and Channel Partner Director at Dalet. “The Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class addresses this need by balancing the cost of storing large media archives with milliseconds retrieval and reliable access to content. Coupled with Dalet’s production and distribution offerings, S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval reinvents media archiving by making cloud operations and economics even more compelling for content owners and distributors.”

EPIC Games Logo

Epic Games is the interactive entertainment company behind Fortnite, one of the world’s most popular video games with over 400 million players. Founded in 1991, Epic transformed gaming with the release of Unreal Engine—the 3D creation engine powering hundreds of games now used across industries, such as automotive, film and television, and simulation, for real-time production.

“Using S3 Intelligent-Tiering, we can implement storage changes without interruptions to service and activity,” said Joshua Bergen, Cost Management Lead at Epic Games. “Our data is automatically moved to lower-cost tiers based on data access, saving us a lot of development time in addition to reducing costs. With that time, my team can focus on identifying other opportunities to reduce infrastructure costs in support of our organizational goals. The new Archive Instant Access tier in S3 Intelligent-Tiering will help us save even more on storage costs.” – Joshua Bergen, Cost Management Lead at Epic Games

From production through distribution, designs and builds functional systems with state-of-the-art technology creating highly efficient workflows to achieve clients’ business goals.

“ is excited about the launch of S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval,” said Greg Holick, VP of Product at SoDA. “SoDA lets our customers—who range from news and sports broadcasters to post production houses—automate file movement in and out of the cloud. Many of these customers are storing petabytes of archival media assets in perpetuity, even though only a small percentage of those assets are ever accessed. With this new S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class, our customers can further lower their storage costs for long-lived archive data and know that their data is accessible in milliseconds for events like a breaking news cycle.”


The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States.

“The new Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class provides low storage cost for the NASCAR Library which houses our growing media archives, and enables our content creators to interact with data of any age in near real time,” said Chris Wolford, Senior Director of Media & Event Technology at NASCAR. “We manage one of the largest racing media archives in the world. Our customers, who range from the NASCAR Cup series teams to producers, editors, and engineers generate video, audio, and images, many of which are stored in perpetuity. The new S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class will help us save on our storage cost while greatly improving on our restore performance. Now, we can benefit from lower storage cost, with the resiliency of multi-AZ storage, and with immediate retrievals for any media asset!”

Pixieset logo

Pixieset is an all-in-one platform for modern photographers, offering photo client galleries, websites, online stores, and studio management software tools.

“Pixieset’s mission is to support photographers and creatives across the world as they run and grow their business,” said Sam Lin, Director of Engineering at Pixieset. “Our customers expect and rely on us to seamlessly deliver valuable and timeless photographs to their clients. With Amazon S3 cloud storage, we are able to store petabytes of images reliably and retrieve them instantly. As the number of creatives using our platform and unlimited storage option continues to grow, we’re storing more and more photos forever. Photographers and creatives don’t want to manage their growing galleries of photos, and instead want to focus on creating authentic memories. With the new S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class, we are able to scale our storage in a cost-effective manner, while continuing to deliver the same real-time access to photos that our users love today.”

To learn more about the new S3 Glacier storage class, visit the Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval product page.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave your feedback in the comments section.

Ian McPherson

Ian McPherson

As the head of global business development for Media Supply Chain and Archive at AWS, Ian helps customers and partners reinvent their business by migrating to the cloud. In addition to his current business development role, Ian has led industry marketing and partner strategy for media and entertainment during his 7 year tenure at AWS.