Thursday 16 August 2018

Definitive guide on Amazon Glacier and its Usage

Amazon Glacier

Amazon Glacier is a low-cost means of data storage service that is meant for long-term backup and data archiving. Glacier is a part of the Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing service that is ideal for long-term storage of the data where there is less frequent access.

Amazon Simple Storage Service and Amazon Glacier share similarities because both are data storage medium but they are still different when it comes to its features. Amazon Glacier is an alternative option when it comes to data storage in AWS Cloud. Even though if they both are serving the same purpose they are still unique and different in their own ways when it comes to benefit and features.

With Glacier storage you can store large amounts of data at a very cheap price at just $0.01/GB per month with traffic and API calls expenses included. Storage between the Amazon S3 and Glacier depends on the type and reason for storing the data s using both the services in reason can help in financial and make it more practical.

Amazon Glacier Storage:

Amazon Glacier is a secure and durable storage system with comprehensive security and compliance capabilities that can meet the regularity requirements. You can run powerful analytics on the archive data at rest with the query in place functionality offered by Amazon Glacier.

 As Amazon S3 users can have quick access to the data but it is not the same as the Amazon Glacier because it is been built for long-term storage that has less frequent access and retrieval of data. As this method is called cold storage, therefore, AWS has named this service Glacier. Glacier runs on inexpensive hardware components that have custom low RPM hard drives that are attached to the custom logic boards where only some rack’s drives can run at full speed at any one time. But this is not confirmed, it is only speculated. There is a retrieval latency time of 3 to 5 hours which is similar to the tape-based system and the pricing model of the Glacier discourages frequent data retrieval.

If you have any historical financial data that need to be stored then Amazon Glacier is recommended. You can store old media that needs durable storage, Storing Healthcare patient records, Regulatory and compliance archiving, digital preservation and scientific data storage.

Offsite tape libraries and On-premises may have storage cost but they have a huge upfront investment and specialized maintenance required. With Glacier, there is no upfront cost and maintenance where you only have to pay for the data storage.

How Amazon Glacier benefit you?

Retrieval of Data within 1-5 minutes:

There are 3 options given by AWS as per your requirements which is Expedited retrievals (1-5 minutes), Standard retrievals (3-5 hours) and Bulk retrievals (5-12 hours).

Highly scalable and durable:

Amazon Glacier is designed with 99.999999% durability and the data is been distributed within the AWS Region across three physical availability zones that make it highly scalable.

Secure and compliance capabilities:

The data in the Amazon Glacier is encrypted with three different types of encryption which makes it highly secure. It also supports security standards and compliance. The Amazon Glacier Vault lock enables WORM storage capability that fulfills compliance requirements.

Query in Place:

Amazon Glacier is the only cloud archive data storage that enables you to query data in place and retrieve only the subset of data that you need.

How the Pricing model of Amazon Glacier will affect you?

As mentioned earlier that the Amazon Glacier pricing model discourages frequent retrieval of the data. This is because Amazon Glacier only serves long-term data storage that requires very less access to the data. There are two cost factors, one for storage and one for retrieval. Uploading data to the Amazon Glacier is free. The pricing is much simpler than Amazon S3 where you can save 82% more than S3.

The retrieval part of the pricing model has whole another story going on because AWS charges more for retrieving the data from Glacier. You will be charged a retrieval fee which is more than 5% of the customer’s average monthly storage. Therefore choosing Amazon Glacier as a general online storage service will not be a good idea.

What have we learned?

If you are going to access and retrieve data in frequent basis then Amazon Simple Storage Service will work great for you but if you go for Amazon Glacier then you will have to bear huge bill for retrieving the data. You can use Amazon Glacier when you have to store data that you are not going to access for a long time. For example, Banks have to store transaction data and they usually don’t access it until if there is any scenario rising with the urgency of retrieval of data. Thus, Amazon Glacier will be a great option in this case.

About is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner that delivers AWS managed services that cater every business need and aims in simplifying the AWS Cloud Journey. Our Team is the driving force behind with the experience, knowledge, and the skills that they behold in making cloud computing and AWS Cloud a pleasant experience.  

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