Amazon Glacier debuts with useful features but confusing pricing plan

by Ruchira on August 21, 2012

Today amazon has launched its “Amazon glacier” service which is designed for high usage backup demands in modern world. Sure you could use already use Amazon S3 to backup your precious data but that costs would be somewhat high when comparing with this new Glacier service.

Even though people use S3 for backups, its intentionally designed to host files and retrieve on the go. But Amazon Glacier is engineered for data backup solutions, which in case you store huge chunk  of data but doesn’t always need to retrieve those unless in case of failure or something.

Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. In order to keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions.

But like I wrote on top, the *disadvantage of this than S3 is Glacier is designed to make backups and just pure backups. So the retrieval of data is the tricky part

You store data in Amazon Glacier as archives. An archive can represent a single file or you may choose to combine several files to be uploaded as a single archive. Retrieving archives from Amazon Glacier requires the initiation of a job. Jobs typically complete in 3.5 to 4.5 hours.

As that phrase from amazon says, retrieval requests takes 3.5 to 4.5 hours to complete. I’m wondering why they takes 3.5 to 4.5 hours at the first place, It should have took 0 to 4.5 hours 🙂 Whatever, In extreme disaster recovery situation this might not be helpful as it takes 3.5 to 4.5 hours to initiate the download and then downloads can take hours or maybe days to complete depending on the size.

The pricing seems very interesting as it just costs $10 a month per 1TB of data stored with amazon glacier.  It seems like a great pricing plan if you just look in to what it costs per GB for storage.

But following typical amazon web services style of over complicating pricing and usage plans, Amazon Glacier is step ahead of complexity than other amazon aws services.

Glacier is designed with the expectation that retrievals are infrequent and unusual, and data will be stored for extended periods of time. You can retrieve up to 5% of your average monthly storage (pro-rated daily) for free each month. If you choose to retrieve more than this amount of data in a month, you are charged a retrieval fee starting at $0.01 per gigabyte. In addition, there is a pro-rated charge of $0.03 per gigabyte for items deleted prior to 90 days.

As they say “Glacier is designed with the expectation that retrievals are infrequent and unusual”.  If you want to retrieve frequently, your bill will be huge. However there are applications which need this kind of storage, so we cant really blame amazon for these terms.

You can read about amazon glacier here –

I'm Ruchira Sahan and all posts on this blog are completely my thoughts and writings. I love DIY and Technology. So feel free to contact me for anything about this blog and don't forget to add a comment if this blog helped you! Thanks
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