Amazon links mainstay S3 storage to its low-cost Glacier

The free upgrade means companies can set up policies to automatically migrate data from the high-cost easily accessible S3 service into the low-cost long-term Glacier storage according to their own policies.
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

As if providing cloud computing, cloud storage and cloud networking wasn't enough, Amazon Web Services is now giving customers access to low-cost cloud archiving.

The company's mainstay S3 storage service is now linked to the low-cost Glacier data archival service from within the AWS management console, Amazon said on Tuesday. By chaining the two together, Amazon has got rid of many of the steps that companies previously had to take to back up data from S3 into Glacier.

"Amazon S3 was designed for rapid retrieval. Glacier, in contrast, trades off retrieval time for cost, providing storage for as little at $0.01 per Gigabyte per month while retrieving data within three to five hours," Amazon wrote in a blog post.

Data stored in S3 has a durability rating of 99.999999999 percent, as it does in Glacier. These ratings mean that if a company were to store 100 billion objects in either service, they could expect to lose one object each year.

By integrating Glacier storage as an option for S3 backups within the AWS Management Console, Amazon has allowed administrators to set policies for when and how long for data should be migrated to and kept in Glacier.

One example of how this technology can be used comes from Toshiba's Cloud & Solutions Division, which is using it to offer tailored backup policies to medical institutions.

However, cloud administrators will need to remember that there is a lag of three-to-five hours for accessing data stored in Glacier. When Glacier-stored data is retrieved, it is kept in S3's Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) technology which has far lower durability — 99.99 percent — than typical S3 storage. 

There are no extra fees for the service upgrade. Glacier was launched in August.

Targeting the enterprise

The announcement fits into Amazon's overall strategy of releasing a product then refining it while knitting it into the rest of the AWS infrastructure.  This ability to not only quickly develop new technologies but then weave them together is one of the reasons why Amazon is able to constantly strengthen its enterprise proposition.

With Glacier's integration into the management console, the company has taken another step toward giving cloud administrators the type of 'single pane of glass' management framework that on-premise hardware and software companies pride themselves on.

As for the future of AWS, the company is hosting its first major cloud conference in Las Vegas later this month. The title — AWS: Re-invent — hints at a major announcement. ZDNet editor Larry Dignan will be there to bring you the news as it happens, and I will be watching with interest from afar.

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