Amazon Glacier Cloud Storage Service Launch: Out Today, Features
According to Amazon, files stored via its Glacier service have an annual durability of 99.999999999 percent. This means that if a company uses it to hold 100 billion objects, it can expect to lose one each year. There is no limit to the amount of data businesses can place in Glacier.
Like Us on Facebook
"Using Amazon Glacier... unlimited archival storage is available to [AWS customers] with a familiar pay-as-you-go model," Werner Vogels, the company's chief technology officer, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "The service redundantly stores data in multiple facilities and on multiple devices within each facility."
Glacier aims to compete with on-premise storage systems on data redundancy and price. The starting cost of Glacier is $0.01 per gigabyte per month. According to Amazon the archiving of media assets, research and scientific data, and enterprise information, as well as magnetic tape replacement, are ideal use cases for Glacier.
And what IT equipment does it use? According to ZDNet it does not run on tape. "Essentially you can see this as a replacement for tape," a company spokesman said.
Rather, Glacier runs on "inexpensive commodity hardware components", the spokesman said, noting that the service is designed to be hardware-agnostic. This suggests the system will be based on very large storage arrays consisting of a multitude of high-capacity low-cost discs.
Each time Amazon has a major outage it makes it easier for an organization to turn away from the cloud, as the chance - however slight - of critical data loss can hurt businesses.
There are further factors that crinkle Glacier's silver lining. Data stored in Glacier takes three to five hours to access. Furthermore, though customers can retrieve five percent of that data for free each month, after that they are charged a retrieval fee. This charge comes with additional data-transfer fees - it costs nothing to load data into Glacier, apart from the bandwidth a business pays their own ISP. However, to take out anything over a gigabyte per month costs money, starting at $0.120 per gigabyte.
Amazon is encouraging customers to use Glacier for archival, rather than short-term, storage. If information is deleted within three months of being uploaded, there is an "early deletion fee", it said.
Aaron Levie, chief executive of enterprise data storage and collaboration service Box, reacted favorably to the announcement.
"[Glacier] seems like a huge boon for enterprises and the cloud," Levie told ZDNet. "Amazon is continuing to show it's going to be the most disruptive player in cloud infrastructure."
In the future, we can expect Glacier to gain integration with Amazon S3 to let customers "seamlessly move data between Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier based on data lifecycle policies", Vogels said.