Wednesday, 22 August 2012 08:34

Amazon Glacier puts data on ice Featured

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Amazon Glacier, the latest offering from Amazon Web Services, is said to provide low-cost, secure and durable archival data storage.

The idea behind Amazon Glacier is to provide a separate tier of cloud storage at low cost for backup and archiving purposes.

Pricing starts at $US0.01 per gigabyte per month ($US0.0012 at Amazon's Asia Pacific data centre in Tokyo), but data transfer charges are levied on data leaving the centre (starting at $US0.201 per gigabyte after the first 10GB).

There is a small fee for upload and retrieval requests ($US0.06 per thousand requests),and if more than 5% of the average monthly storage is retrieved, a further retrieval fee is applied, starting at $US0.012 per gigabyte.

Reflecting the intention that Glacier is used for backup and archiving, a surcharge of $US0.036 per gigabyte is applied for items deleted within 90 days.

So like other Amazon Cloud Services, Glacier is true 'pay only for what you use' cloud archival storage.

Security is provided via Amazon's Identity and Access Management service, and the service has been designed to provide average annual durability of 99.999999999% for each item stored through the use of automatic replication and integrity checks.

The company plans to introduce a feature to support the automatic movement of data between Amazon S3 and Glacier according to data lifecycle policies (there is already no charge for moving data between S3 and Glacier within the same AWS region).

Amazon officials suggest Glacier is suitable for a variety of applications, including the archiving of enterprise information, media assets (eg, TV news footage), and scientific data.

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It is also said to be relevant to digital preservation efforts, as it allows projects to start small at low cost and then scale up to massive collections, while automatically providing data integrity checks and performing automatic repairs if errors are detected.

"An organisation like ours thinks in centuries when it comes to content retention, and long term preservation of our Master Archives is a critical part our mission here at NYPR," said Steve Shultis, CTO of New York Public Radio.

"Storing these core assets on traditional media such as local disk and off-site tape exposes us to corruption and even outright-loss of data.

"We are excited to move our archives to Amazon Glacier, which will be a better long-term solution."

Alyssa Henry, vice president of AWS Storage Services, said "Today, most businesses rely on expensive, brittle, and inflexible tape for their archiving solution.

"This approach requires expensive upfront payments, is difficult to operate and maintain, and leads to wasted capacity and money.

"Amazon Glacier changes the game for companies requiring archiving and backup solutions because you pay nothing upfront, pay a very low price for storage, are able to scale up and down whenever needed, and AWS handles all of the operational heavy lifting required to do data retention well."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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